The next generation of Fiats will feature design language inspired by the 500, with the next Punto likely to be the first model to adopt the new look.
Although the styling of the current Punto and Bravo has been widely praised, company insiders report that it has apparently put off significant numbers of female buyers, who constitute more than half of buyers in the segment in which the Punto competes.
The slightly aggressive nose and rising beltline of both cars will go, in favour of the more rounded form of the hugely successful Fiat 500, which has brought many new buyers to the brand.
The bigger cars will not look as wilfully cute as the 500, however, as they have to appeal to both male and female buyers.
The change of design direction is crucial for Fiat, which needs to widen the appeal of a model range that is very dependent on small cars. More than that, it faces intensifying competition from many downsizing rivals that have not previously had models in the baby car segment occupied by the 500 and Panda.
In particular, it needs to find a style that will allow it to compete effectively in the Ford Focus class, where it has underperformed for decades.