Fiat are planning to pin their future on Eco City Cars, with a new electric Fiat 500e, and new Eco Panda and, it seems, just about nothing else.
Back in 2011, when Fiat launched the electric Fiat 500 in the US to keep regulators happy, Sergio Marchionne expressed a desire that no one buys a 500e because, even with a £30k price tag, the electric Fiat 500 would cost Fiat £10k every time one was sold. But times change.
Now, in a complete volte-face, Marchionne has declared the future of Fiat is electric, and an electric Fiat 500 is the headline, an electric Fiat 500 which will make Fiat a profit. Apparently.
It looks like the new 500e will arrive in 2020, complete with a new look – although expect it to be very much an evolutionary design – and new underpinnings, underpinnings expected to be shared with a new Fiat Panda too. The 500 will also spawn a new Estate model, essentially a revival of the badge used on the 500 Giardiniera in the 1960s
It looks like Fiat’s plan is to dominate the City Car market, using the 500 as the ‘Premium’ attack car and the new Panda as the budget option, with the 500e the headline act and the new Panda getting high-economy petrol engines and some mild hybrid gubbins.
Marchionne has revealed the Punto is going to be dropped from Fiat’s offerings, and although not announced we really can’t see what the point will be in continuing production of the Tipo either. So, by 2020, that will leave Fiat with just two models – the new 500 and Panda – both competing in just one sector. Despite which, Marchionne says Fiat volumes will be sustained.
There’s a lot of logic to the plan, although we do wonder where the new 500e is going to accommodate its batteries. Unless Fiat reckon buyers of an electric 500e will be happy with a sub-100 mile range?