New Bravo to follow 500s successful American launch
31 May 2011

Fiat is planning to build on strong US-market demand for the 500 by expanding its line-up there with the successor to the Bravo.

Despite concerns about relaunching the brand in the US with such a small model, the  early sales figures of the Fiat 500 have exceeded expectations. The cabriolet version of the baby hatchback is now appearing in showrooms, and the Abarth and EV versions will follow soon after.

The firm is now planning a larger offering, according to US brand boss Laura Soaves. But she emphasised that Fiat will not encroach on Chrysler’s traditional markets in the US. “Fiat will be the small car brand,” said Soaves. “It will never have anything larger than a C [segment].”

That means Fiat won’t sell anything bigger than a Focus — and is a clear indicator that the larger car will be the replacement for the Bravo (right). Fiat Group boss Sergio Marchionne promised a radical approach for the car, saying that it “will not be a traditional offering”.

Soaves also revealed that the delay to the Alfa Romeo Giulia — caused when Marchionne rejected the car’s styling direction — will mean that the evocative brand will return to the US market with its 4C sports car.

Planned volumes of the ‘halo car’ will be modest — but Alfa will want to surpass the 150 units of the 8C sold in the US market if the 4C is to prove an effective launchpad for the brand.

Paul Eisenstein

Our Verdict

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is a deserved success story for the brand, offering bags of style, a fine drive and low costs

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