Fiat is looking to move customers into the B segment, Mike Manley tells investors, putting the Panda under threat
4 November 2019

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has become the latest car making group to express an intent to move away from city cars, with the company’s CEO suggesting this will happen “in the very near future”.

The comments were made by Mike Manley during FCA’s third-quarter earnings call. He expressed a desire to move customers into the B segment, where the Fiat Punto used to reside.

Manley said: “In the very near future, you will see us refocus on this higher-volume, higher-margin segment, and that will involve a move away from the minicar segment.”

A number of brands, such as Ford and Vauxhall/Opel, have already exited the A segment (city cars), while the Volkswagen Group is unlikely to replace the Up, Mii and Citigo siblings with a similarly aligned product. The problem is increasing development costs because of tougher European Union emissions limits, which makes profitability in a class expected to be low-budget very difficult, even with FCA being the market leader.

It’s likely, then, that a replacement for the Punto is now back on the cards, and this could also provide the basis for a new Alfa Romeo Mito. No timeline is given, but the decision could be influenced by FCA's recent merger with the PSA Group, allowing the Italian brands access to the platform of the new Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa.

Fiat is still understood to be replacing the 500; Autocar reported earlier this year that an electric 500e is due in 2020, alongside a new Giardiniera estate variant. It’s unlikely that the project has been cancelled so close to its public unveiling, so Manley’s comments could be in reference to the cheaper Fiat Panda

That model is the best-selling city car across Europe, with more than 105,000 examples produced in the first half of 2019, despite it being seven years old. The electric Fiat Centoventi concept unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March was strongly linked to a Panda replacement as soon as 2021, but that plan may already have been altered. 

Our Verdict

Fiat Panda

A very fine multi-use little car that offers an enticing ownership proposition

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Comments
23

4 November 2019

Bit confused, are they cancelling the ICE 500, just about the only car that sells in any number in Europe. Might as well pack up now!

6 November 2019
xxxx wrote:

Bit confused, are they cancelling the ICE 500, just about the only car that sells in any number in Europe. Might as well pack up now!

 

Good news!. Pack quickly and expect to be deluged with offers of financial assistance in respect of a ONE WAY ticket to ANYWHERE but this comments section.

 

Bit confused...clearly but with a minor adjustment...massively confused you are. Fool.

4 November 2019

The 500 and Panda are rated number one and number two as the best sellers in Europe, and added together they out rank all the rest of the top ten combined

 

4 November 2019

This may not be a weird decision. Fiats margins are probably wafer thin so they are wondering why to bother. Fiat arguably priced the 500 too low, had they tried to go toe to toe with the Mini on pricing they may have made more profit. 

Maybe merging with PSA will reduce costs?

4 November 2019

This may not be a weird decision. Fiats margins are probably wafer thin so they are wondering why to bother. Fiat arguably priced the 500 too low, had they tried to go toe to toe with the Mini on pricing they may have made more profit. 

Maybe merging with PSA will reduce costs?

6 November 2019
TStag wrote:

This may not be a weird decision. Fiats margins are probably wafer thin so they are wondering why to bother. Fiat arguably priced the 500 too low, had they tried to go toe to toe with the Mini on pricing they may have made more profit. 

Maybe merging with PSA will reduce costs?

 

"Probably, arguably, maybe"...do you KNOW ANYTHING...don't bother posting until you have the FACTS.

4 November 2019

And the Lancia Ypsilon? Now 8 years old and outselling the whole of Alfa's range in Europe. (Despite management appearing to want to kill off the brand.)

4 November 2019

Interesting that the legislation intended to drive us into more efficient cars is apparently causing the death of the (traditionally) most efficient sector of the market. 

4 November 2019

A very good point Bob Cat Brian. It also doesn’t make sense for Fiat to stop selling cars in a market where they are the leader, to move to a market they do so badly in that they pulled out of it.

6 November 2019
Bob Cat Brian wrote:

Interesting that the legislation intended to drive us into more efficient cars is apparently causing the death of the (traditionally) most efficient sector of the market. 

 

Nope, what may be in the minds of those who legislate and seek votes, is not necessarily in the minds of those who are OEM's. It has been said by many of those, that city cars are very hard to produce, with a decent profit margin...same R&D costs as class above, much lower eventual selling price to budget aware buyers. In such a situation, where some OEM's vacate this sector, there will ALWAYS be others to fill the gap, although lack of competition is never a good thing for the consumer.

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