Fiat will launch a new Panda in 2011 after CEO Sergio Marchionne lifted a 15 month spending freeze.
Marchionne’s spending freeze ran from October 2008 to December 2009 and saw the delay of the new Panda, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and a replacement for the Lancia Ypsilon.
In a telephone conference with financial analysts, Marchionne said launching any major new models last year in the middle of the global financial downturn would have been a “waste”.
“That's the reason why I think we intelligently postponed a number of our programs to make sure that it coincided with what I consider to be a structural recovery in demand in 2011 and later years,” he said.
Fiat’s investment in 2009 was 32 per cent lower than 2008’s. In 2008 it stood at 4.97 billion euro (£4.34bn) and will be 4.5bn (£3.93bn) this year.
The Alfa Giulietta will be launched at Geneva next month, a year later than originally planned. The Panda will be launched in 2011 tow years later than originally planned.