Fiat is spending PLN2.36 billion ($784 million) to upgrade its Tychy site in Poland to build the for its Punto replacement that will arrive in 2016, according to a report by Puls Biznesu. The new car – which could be named as 500 Plus -- will be a longer and wider version of the Fiat 500 three-door minicar that is also built in Tychy, sources told Automotive News Europe.
The Punto replacement will slot between the 3545mm three-door 500 hatchback and the 4150mm 500L small minivan. Fiat is planning to produce 180,000 units annually of the new car, which should be the answer to Fiat’s quest for a successor to its aging Punto.
Fiat posted a 22-percent drop in sales of the Puntos in Europe in 2013 to 103,822, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers. Fiat’s investment in Tychy will entail an upgrade of production lines and installation of new technology, according to Puls Biznesu and will result to the hiring of 420 new employees to boost its 3,000-strong workforce in Poland.
The paper said that around 96 percent of the output will be exported, including to North America. Fiat is currently building the Punto at its Melfi site in Italy. Fiat is shifting its production to Poland to free up capacity at Mefli for the Jeep Renagade.
Fiat will start building the Renegade at Melfi next month, and its sister model Fiat 500X in September. The Punto replacement will be underpinned by a longer version of Fiat Chrysler's small architecture on which the 3840mm-long Lancia Ypsilon subcompact is based.