Fiat’s two-seat, two-cylinder Topolino may not come to the UK.
The budget hatchback was intended for developing markets as well as richer Western European countries, positioned beneath the Panda and 500 in price.
But Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Fiat Group UK, admitted there are doubts as to whether the Topolino would succeed in the UK.
“The Topolino makes sense globally but is more difficult to position over here. We already have a very good presence in the A-sector and we have to consider how the market will be affected when the Chinese makers eventually enter the UK. They could start offering much cheaper models, some with Fiat technology, too.”
Fiat has a long history in the Chinese market — most recently the Italian company agreed to a joint venture with leading Chinese manufacturer Guangzhou Auto Group. Construction has already started on the GAC-Fiat factory, which will be able to produce 140,000 cars and 220,000 engines per year.
Although the Topolino may not come to the UK, a turbocharged version of its two-cylinder petrol Multiair engine will when it goes into the Fiat 500 later this year. The 900cc motor will put out around 90bhp and just 89g/km of CO2, and will be priced in the middle of the 500 range between the 1.2 and 1.4-litre 4 cyl engines.