Currently reading: Fiat commits to keeping cars small in EV shift
Italian firm plans to dominate A- and B-segment, with Ford's move to axe Fiesta "an opportunity" for rivals, says Fiat CEO

Fiat is committed to a future line-up focused on small cars, despite other manufacturers withdrawing from the market – and company boss Olivier François has suggested Ford’s decision to axe the Ford Fiesta presents an "opportunity".

The Italian firm is beginning an overhaul of its European line-up as it shifts to becoming an all-electric brand. It plans to launch five new models in the next five years to join the existing Fiat 500e.

Those models will start next year with a small hatch understood to use the Stellantis CMP platform that also underpins the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e. In addition, the firm is working on a range of models on new platforms inspired by the 2019 Centoventi electric concept, which could revive the Panda nameplate.

Fiat is focusing on small cars despite other firms abandoning the market due to the prohibitive cost of new regulations. Ford recently axed the Fiesta and Volkswagen might cull the Polo due to the forthcoming Euro 7 emissions rules. At the same time, manufacturers have been struggling to produce affordable entry-level cars.

“What we are super-focused at doing is A, B, C cars but with the right engine, body and technology,” said François. “The stuff the customer will really crave for in that moment. So small cars, but with a smart package.

“The fact that there is no Fiesta in the way or Polo in the way is just fantastic, because it is really where we belong. It’s where people expect us to be. We have not done a new Punto since 2013 or something like that, but if you ask European customers to name their top B-segment brands, Fiat is in the top three.

“We need to own the B-segment again, and we need to keep owning the A-segment. We know why the others are leaving, and I understand: it is more challenging.”

François admitted that making small electric cars affordable remained a big challenge; He said: “The only super-profitable, easy way to go electric is to make it super-premium, because you embed the horribly high cost of batteries into something that is anyway expensive.”

He added that Fiat’s small car focus is “100%” down to the resources it can tap into as part of Stellantis. He said: “Without Stellantis, we would not be in good shape. The Fiat business model or Citroën business model is based on economics of scale. When you trigger the synergies, it’s like being a kid at Christmas, because everything becomes less scary.”


Read our review

Car review

We may not be getting a new Fiesta ever again, but Ford's icon lives on as a cheap, fun used buy

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Jeremy 24 November 2022

I think Fiat/Stellantis are onto something here. As current EVs get ever more expensive (excepting Chinese manufacturer cars, subsidised by their government), people will be forced into cheaper cars, which will still have to be EVs to comply with upcoming legislation. Ford and VW are mad to abandon the small market. 

I wonder when calls to protect the UK/Europe from Chinese car 'dumping' will start, in the same way that used to apply to Japanese cars in the 1970/80s?

russ13b 23 November 2022

"“The only super-profitable, easy way to go electric is to make it super-premium, because you embed the horribly high cost of batteries into something that is anyway expensive.”" - this also applies to engines, the highly profitable cars are the high-end ones. What missing is the bare-bones empty box with a 100 mile range and enough speed, as close to a 126 as they can get it. If it's the batteries that are expensive, don't fit a big one.

catnip 23 November 2022

This is great news and what a lot of people want rather than more and more huge, heavy SUVs.

We'll have to see how the pricing goes, though...