Fiat announces new line-up including ‘Mega’ and ‘Giga’ Pandas - SUV VEHICLE

Fiat announces new line-up including ‘Mega’ and ‘Giga’ Pandas

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The Italian brand – part of the Stellantis group – will introduce a new global range of cars sharing a single platform.

Fiat plans to introduce four new models sharing a single new platform and fresh design language – the first scheduled for a July 2024 unveiling in line with the car maker’s 125th anniversary.

Fiat CEO Olivier Francois announced the plan – including video footage of the new design concepts – which will see at least one new model using the new underpinnings released every year until 2027.

The strategy looks to combat cheaper electric rivals – not only for brands such as Renault-owned Dacia, but Chinese electric cars.

The Fiat boss said last year a lack of affordable electric vehicles was a challenge the carmaker needs to resolve.

“Fiat is a global brand with 1.3 million cars sold last year and solid leadership in many parts of the world,” Francois said in a statement announcing the plans.

We are in a global game and our next step will be to transition from local products to a global offer that can benefit all of our customers everywhere in the world.

Fiat’s parent company Stellantis is currently working on a cut-price platform, just as other car makers, including Ford, plan to – all in an effort to bring production costs and retail prices for electric cars down.

While the electric ‘New Panda’ is scheduled for European showrooms in mid-2024, with its place in the Australia range yet to be confirmed, Fiat will add two new models to the Panda line-up – ‘Mega’ and ‘Giga’ Pandas – creating a sub-brand of its famous city car.

In doing so, Fiat looks to be taking a leaf from BMW’s book with the Mini brand – where the iconic styling of the original 1959 Mini is translated across multiple cars varying in style and size.

It has somewhat used its famous 500 in the same way, which includes larger body styles, as well as the electric 500e on sale in Australia late in 2023.

The New Panda uses an existing low-cost platform shared with other models in the Stellantis group – which owns Fiat, Peugeot, Jeep and Peugeot among others – such as the city-sized electric Citroen e-C3.

The new Fiat platform is ‘multi-functional’ and allows Italy’s largest car maker to fit the vehicles with petrol/diesel internal combustion-engines, hybrid powertrains, and electric motors powered by batteries.

It also showed ‘modular dashboards’ that can be adapted for different vehicles and countries,

The decisions on which powertrains are used – and body styles – can be adapted according to market demands, says the company.

The car maker plans to introduce an SUV, ‘Pick-up’, ‘Fastback’, ‘Camper’, and ‘City car’ using the new strategy.

The city car – dubbed ‘Mega Panda’ – will offer a high driving position, sustainable materials and a ‘self-winding cable’ suggesting a hybrid or a battery-electric powertrain.

The second vehicle shown in the plan was the ‘Pick-up’, which will likely focus on European and South American markets rather than being a rival to the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger in Australia.

Significant automotive manufacturing takes place in Brazil and Mexico, with the Fiat Strada pick-up being Brazil’s best-selling vehicle in 2023, with the Fiat brand commanding an unrivalled 23.1 per cent market share.

The ‘urban-sized’ pick-up will – like vehicles in Australia – expand its capability beyond a workhorse-like commercial role and also offer ‘lifestyle’ features, shown with a surfboard on its roof.

Also with a priority for Latin America is the Fastback, which the company says will take after the Fiat Tipo and Fiat Fastback affordable sports models sold in Brazil, but not sold in Australia.

Aimed at the youth market, Fiat did suggest the Fastback may be offered in Europe – and that may mean Australia in future, too.

The Fastback is created by adding a section of rear bodywork and glass to the pick-up.

The ‘Giga-Panda’ is more likely to be sold in Australia, given the popularity of large SUVs, but again little detail was offered on the vehicle.

The ‘Camper’ is also a better chance, with the company again referencing its Panda nameplate by saying the new version will follow the “Functionality of the Panda from the 80s” – suggesting versatility and practicality.

Fiat currently only offers the 500 and 500e passenger cars in Australia, as well as the Ducato commercial van.

The post Fiat announces new line-up including ‘Mega’ and ‘Giga’ Pandas appeared first on Drive.

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