27/05/2022

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The car that cares

New Fiat Panda SUV set for launch by 2023 with electric option

Fiat is organizing a new “affordable electrification” solution offensive. It’ll be rolled out above the following 5 decades – and the Italian brand will build the 500 and a variety of practical autos based mostly on the Centoventi concept as key pillars for its expansion within Stellantis.

Fiat’s CEO Olivier Francois not long ago instructed Automobile Convey that this strategy would shift the paradigms of his company’s line-up. Now, the 500 will become the fashion-concentrated offering in the brand’s portfolio, while the approaching Centoventi-based mostly types will forgo swoopy styling in the identify of outright practicality.

These new entry-level autos will also be economically priced, retaining a equally ruthless focus on generation charges and the very same rugged character as the authentic Panda from the nineteen eighties. So considerably, Automobile Convey understands there’ll be a “Panda” supermini and a new “Panda SUV” (previewed earlier mentioned) – but extra are on the way.

We questioned Francois right if Fiat’s new line-up would have two pillars, built on the 500 and the conventions established out by the Centoventi concept – and he replied: “Exactly, you’re proper.” He stopped shorter of confirming any nameplates, but he did counsel that the bigger Panda-motivated types could use typical Fiat badges.

Francois walked us as a result of his imagined course of action for naming his entry-level Centoventi-based mostly design, however, expressing: “What is absolutely sure is now I have the chance to invent a new identify, or to tap into some fabled identify of the earlier. I’m leaning extra toward the next a single, mainly because we seriously have these favourable templates, with a good deal of pleased prospects. 

“So I’ll do a B-segment [supermini], and then is it going to be a new Punto? Is it going to be a tremendous Panda? I never know. We will come across out. What is quite essential, and this is in which you have my overall motivation, is that certainly at the first look – even with no badging or branding – you’ll recognise it as a Fiat.”

The “Panda supermini” will be a rugged, boxy city car – and it’ll be the closest factor Fiat will start to a comply with-up for the present-day Panda. Then, there’ll be at the very least a single, (but most likely two), scaled up types which will very likely use the very same Stellantis CMP architecture as Fiat’s new sister brand Peugeot uses beneath the 208 and 308 hatchbacks.

The “Punto” Francois mentions earlier mentioned could be a boxy supermini, but the identify could also refer to our pictured “Panda SUV,” getting to be a jacked-up extension of the authentic Centoventi concept. This automobile will give Fiat a extra practical foil to the following 500X and, in influence, a replacement for the unloved 500L MPV. 

Fiat has previously pencilled in an as-but-unspecified small SUV for its Tichy manufacturing facility in Poland (at present residence to the more mature 500 and Lancia’s Ypsilon) from 2023. Which is the year Francois expects his new autos to begin arriving.

The design, which ought to be previewed this year, is anticipated to be built along with Alfa’s baby SUV, as perfectly as a small Jeep – and all 3 vehicles would use the firm’s CMP and e-CMP platforms to offer you a decision of petrol or electric travel.

Contradicting speculation, Francois prompt that there is area in his line-up for two small SUVs. “If you glance at VW, now it has the T-Cross and the T-Roc, which are equally SUVs but a single is even bigger, a single is more compact.

“And on major of that they have the Taigo [coupé-SUV],” he stated. “Because we are not that rich, we are not going to start 4 or 5 versions. But we have the possibility to say: ‘If you want one thing a bit extra coupé-ish, extra rounded, hey, I have terrific news: I have the design and style inspiration of the 500.’

“But if you want room for the dollars – that’s probably a further essential component for the [small] B-SUVs – if you seriously want square containers, boxy, rugged and room, I have the inspiration that is Panda. And my notion is to adhere to this, for now, but certainly in an evolutionary way.” 

Francois appears to have decided that Fiat’s heartland will be in superior revenue volumes of small autos, making it possible for the likes of Opel and Citroen to offer you bigger types this kind of as comprehensive-sized spouse and children SUVs. “My notion is to protect or to focus on vehicles in between three.7 metres extended and four.three metres extended,” he stated. “A-segment, B-segment, B-SUV shorter, B-SUV extended. Which is in which I want to engage in.”

Fiat’s wider solution strategy and its potential with Stellantis

Above the earlier ten years, Fiat has occasionally struggled to place the rest of its line-up along with the 500 – not the very least mainly because acquiring new versions of vehicles this kind of as the Punto and Tipo was prohibitively expensive, with minor or no crossover in between sister manufacturers Chrysler and Jeep.

Now, with Fiat component of Stellantis and able to tap into massive economies of scale, alongside with all set-designed platforms and engines, Francois says that his progress charges on key small vehicles could be reduced by as much as 3 quarters in some conditions.

“I have siblings now – Peugeot, Opel, Citroen, DS, even Lancia, who are in the business enterprise of accomplishing small and compact European vehicles,” Francois instructed us. “So we all will need extra or significantly less the very same factor, the very same systems. Certainly the vehicles are going to be fundamentally unique, but the underpinnings can be shared.”

It looks very likely, however, that Fiat will attempt to spin at the very least a single extra variant off the hottest 500’s system – which was made in household prior to the Stellantis merger. This architecture could be stretched marginally for the aforementioned 5-doorway edition (envisaged in our unique impression on Web page nine), making it possible for an overdue successor to the present 500X small SUV (remaining) to be based mostly on Stellantis’s supermini-sized STLA all-electric underpinnings.

Now read through about Fiat’s MY22 updates for the 500X and Tipo…