Fiat brand chief Gianluca Italia said that there’s a limit to how the company is expanding the 500 lineup. He is planning for the Panda range to have the same pace of growth as the 500. He explained that a limit is in place so that the “value and genes” of the core model isn’t being risked.
When asked whether Fiat is bound to lose some of the Fiat name’s allure by expanding in the same way as the Mini, Italia responded that it will be adding just a few models that leverage on the asset. He clarified also that Mini is a brand while 500 is not. Recently, Fiat has added the 500L five-seat MPV to the 500 line-up. This September, it will launch a seven-seat ‘XL’ version with two occasional use seats in the boot.
He revealed plans to build a new Italian-built small SUV named 500X while the company has scrapped plans for a 2014 launch. Italia said that the 500X will be its way of effectively handling the C-segment, replacing the Bravo. However, he said that there will be no additional models beyond what they’re planning. This means that there won’t be any coupe and roadster models.
It also suggests that the Panda’s expansion will have to meet the need for a Punto replacement. Italia said that there were plenty of prospects for the Panda to evolve. A model that’s slightly bigger than the existing car will be a good fit in the B-segment as a Punto replacement. Italia emphasized that we can expect that the Panda will always be “functional and accessible” no matter what they do with it.