Fiat’s new Tipo is one of the most intriguing new car projects for some years. And that’s because it is trying to overturn conventional marketing wisdom in the most competitive segment of Europe’s cut-throat mainstream car market.

Instead of selling ever-plusher cars in an attempt to improve the brand’s value and trying to convince punters to pay higher prices for mainstream models, the Tipo project is an attempt to build a decent car at a sensible price and turn a decent profit.

Since the arrival in 1999 of the Golf Mk4 (known for its interior and exterior build quality) and the first Ford Focus (known for its exceptional driving dynamics), cars in this sector have  become ever more upmarket.

Hatchback and estate forms of the new Fiat Tipo are revealed at the 2016 Geneva Motorshow

The problem - which few in the industry ever talk about openly - is that what the average punter or fleet manager is willing to pay for a modern C-segment car is not enough to make a decent profit on such models.

Although car makers never break out the figures - not even to City analysts - most cars in this sector do well to break even from European sales.