Fiat believes that by dropping the prices of the existing and new generations of the Panda to below those of the Volkswagen Up, it will be able to achieve sales of 230,000 units next year. The Panda is the No. 1 minicar in Europe. When interviewed by Automotive News Europe, Gianni Coda, Fiat's chief operating office for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that the new Panda will account for 180,000 to 190,000 units of 2012 sales and the rest will come from Classic models. The new Panda is set to start selling in Europe next February with a starting price of 10,200 euros.
The starting price of the current-generation Panda, which will be known as the Panda Classic, is 8,500 euros in Italy. This represents a drop from the today's starting price of 10,250 euros. Since 2004, the Panda kept its title as the segment leader.
However, the VW Up, which is priced from 10,600 euros in Italy, is a major threat. If Fiat is able to achieve the 2012 target it has set for the Panda models, these two versions will almost match the minicar's total European sales in 2010.
Market researcher JATO Dynamics said that from the start of the year through September, Panda’s sales had fallen by 22% to 140,285 units in Europe. The current Panda (the second generation) peaked in 2009 with sales of 299,992 units.
At this time, Europe had offered incentives for small cars, resulting to a steep rise in the demand for minicars. The new Panda is rounder and at 3640mm, it is longer by 110mm. Majority of the length is attributed to the rear, widening the trunk space and giving more legroom to passengers at the back. For the first time, the Panda features rear sliding seats.
For 31 years, the Fiat Panda has become not only a likeable vehicle but one that is easy to use and is highly versatile. This is not all as the Panda comes from a brand known for bringing with it an emotion and a rational value. Since it was first released, it is estimated that at least 6.4 million units have been made.
It has also managed to catch the attention of 16 million drivers with various backgrounds, nationalities, ages, and even preferences. The Panda has helped the brand keep the lead in this particular segment. It started with the first generation of the 600 and then up to the 500.
The 126 followed; the first generation Panda arrived after that. Then it was the turn of the Cinquecento going all the way to the Seicento. After that it was the second generation of the Panda, launched in 2003, and later the new 500, released in 2007. Indeed, when it comes to Europe’s city-car class, Fiat has always served as the basis considering its unmatched knowledge when it comes to continental cities.
The new Panda, which is the third generation, was therefore created under this human and technical tradition and is a good example of a consistent evolution of what this model has been. It therefore has its own personality and delivers more when it comes to comfort, functionality, safety, space, and technology. This is not surprising as the new Panda is made up of the best features found in the first generation and combined with the best features of the second generation.
New Fiat Panda is the perfect vehicle for those who prefer the comfort and space offered by a five-door compact car but have the practical handling offered by a city car. These features on this rather intelligent vehicle are improved even further using a harmonious and contemporary appearance. These highlight the Panda’s excellent look which has been embedded in our minds.
This is the same feeling one gets from products made using Italian creativity like the Fiat 500, Vespa Piaggio, MokaBialetti and, of course, the Cubo by Bruno Munari. Indeed, truly unique products can never be judged by how they look or how they exhibit good engineering practice.
Rather they should be evaluated with regards to their strong transformations and how innovative the concept and the designs are, especially on being able to redefine common reference point. Should this occur, the result is generally considered as a work of art and there is no doubt the Fiat Panda is such a masterpiece.