Fiat’s product planners have decided to exploit two areas in the European car market that are showing strong signs of growth: near-premium small and compact cars and high-value budget cars.
Fiat’s Luca Napolitano, who is head of the Fiat brand for Europe, the Middle East and Russia, has been quoted as saying that the two new arms are known as ‘Rational’ and ‘Emotional’.
The Emotional family covers the expanding 500 range and the upcoming Mazda MX-5-based Fiat 124 Spider. The significant addition to the 500 range will be a larger five-door hatchback model, which will be based on the same platform as the 500X crossover.
This new car is expected next year and Fiat will pitch it as a direct Mini rival that offers more space. All-wheel drive and powerful turbocharged versions are also under development.
Napolitano said Fiat’s Rational line would be “based on functionality and value for money”. The Panda (which will be replaced in 2018) will make up the entry-level models. They will be joined by a new B-segment supermini — in effect, a reborn Uno — and a new family hatchback and estate that are based on the Aegea budget saloon.
Fiat’s own internal presentation says the new Rational B-segment model will be launched next year.
There’s no news yet on what the bigger models will be called, but Grande Panda or Grande Punto are thought to be in contention.
Although Fiat will reveal more about this new line-up at the Geneva motor show next March, it’s understood that the C-segment hatch and estate will not be as cheap as Dacia models but will undercut mainstream rivals from the likes of Skoda and Hyundai-Kia.