The Fiat group is arming its arsenal to fight against the mighty VW group in the world leadership battle.
With brands like Fiat, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep under its umbrella, the Italian auto major looks evenly poised to go head on with the VW group brands. The Fiat group has announced an exhaustive product plan for the next three years.
Though we would love to discuss the entire 20 products that constitute the onslaught including Maseratis and Alfa Romeos, we will highlight only the products that are relevant to India bearing in mind that in the next three years we could see the arrival of Jeep brand in the sub-continent.
7 seater version of Fiat 500L by 2013
What started as a celebratory retro model is now being leveraged to reiterate the success of the iconic original Fiat 500 and Fiat has plans to do it by spinning off derivatives. The 500L was a compact crossover based on the Fiat 500. Fiat will stretch the 500L even longer to accommodate the third row and bingo, you have a Maruti Ertiga rival! Finding it a suitable diesel engine will be least of Fiat's worries in India.
Jeep compact SUV 'baby Wrangler' by 2014
The Jeep compact SUV is Fiat's solution for the ever increasing significance of the compact SUV segment. The compact SUV is likely to be based on the Jeep Wrangler. Media reports suggest that the Jeep brand is going to set foot in India sooner than later. The baby SUV will be a very good company to the Cherokee and Wrangler SUVs.
All new Fiat Linea by 2015
There is no denying the fact that the Fiat Linea is one of the best looking sedans on sale from any segment, in India, but with the arrival of much younger rivals, the car started showing its age especially on the interiors. The all new Linea is planned for a 2015 launch and is expected to undergo a through redesign. The car will benefit from platform and parts sharing with a Dodge counterpart, perhaps the Dart.
Fiat Linea hatchback by 2015
It's almost unbelievable that Fiat's product planners gave the new Fiat Punto a miss but they did announce a hatchback based on the Linea sedan. The hatchback is most likely to be the next gen Punto and will share most of its components and design cues from its sedan brother, again a time proven formula in India. Both cars could be powered by the next generation MultiJet diesel engines.
New compact crossover to replace Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot by 2015
The Crossover SUVs Compass and Patriot will be replaced by a new entry level compact crossover. The mini crossover SUV is likely to be positioned in a way to rival the likes of Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport globally. Being a global model, it might not be a sub four metre SUV, but is expected to bear the needs of emerging markets in mind. The car will sit below the baby Wrangler and will be the most affordable Jeep.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer 7 Seater by 2015
The Wagoneer brand will be resurrected for the 2015 model year. With 7 seats and luxury features, it's expected to become the flagship vehicle of the Jeep brand, sitting above the Grand Cherokee. Fiat could consider bringing this vehicle to India if the smaller Jeeps manage to build a brand value high enough to accommodate an expensive and huge 7 seater.
The aggressive product plan is Fiat's reaction to the current do or die situation and if executed well, it could bring the Fiat and Chrysler brands back to where they used to be. Platform sharing, economies of scale in production and joint engineering are the key points of this plan.
Good luck Fiat!