You can add Fiat to the admittedly short list of automakers considering a low-cost brand to rival Dacia. The inexpensive Eastern European brand from Renault-Nissan has performed on the balance sheet like a premium model line, and the money the alliance is taking off the table is encouraging other players to deal themselves in. Pretty soon Nissan's Datsun sub-brand will join the Dacia party, going on sale in Russia, Indonesia and India and will claim even more rubles, rupiahs and rupees for the parent company. Volkswagen recently said it will make a decision this year on a budget line for the Chinese market. With the euthanasia of Lancia and plans to move the Fiat brand upmarket, company CEO Sergio Marchionne wonders aloud to Automotive News Europe whether there could be room for a new budget brand underneath Fiat.

We're told that the initiative has been in the idea box for five years and even moved to the stage of name considerations, like Innocenti, but worries about profit kept it from realization. If such a range were to be developed, Marchionne says it couldn't be built in Italy and stay within budget, and the company is "analyzing its manufacturing capacity outside of Europe to see if a low-cost brand is viable."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 46 Comments
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      Move Fiat upmarket? Sometimes execs just outsmart themselves. Leave Fiat where it is, the maker of small affordable, and fuel efficient cars. The Fiat brand is know the world over, why start from scratch building up a "new" brand?
        lasertekk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        since the end of WW2, Fiat has been known as THE producer of small and efficient cars. A sub brand is not necessary. They already have stripped models they sell in the developing world.
        alistair.dillingham
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        no, they want to move DOWNmarket, if that's possible!
          alistair.dillingham
          • 1 Year Ago
          @alistair.dillingham
          the morons who voted this down have no clue how cheapo FIats really are.
      EJD1984
      • 1 Year Ago
      Easy - Plymouth
        Street King
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EJD1984
        Zero cache in India. Whatever it ends up being called, they could use all the old Daimler platforms and interiors. Actually scratch the interiors, even a low cost brand would fail with those lol.
        Bill
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EJD1984
        Actually I was thinking DeSoto. Although it was more upmarket, I'm pretty sure DeSoto was the primary Mopar export marque. Other chryco cars were badged desoto for export. Also DeSoto sounds just like it is spelled and would be easy to say in many languages, vs. Plymouth which a lot of ppl would have a hard time with the "th".
      carboy55
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fiat needs to earn that \"upmarket\" status with good cars before declaring themselves worthy and assigning a brand below them. Way too rushed.
      KaBoomBOX
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's fine if they want a budget marque for emerging markets, I get that. But they want to move Fiat upmarket? To compete with who? They're killing off Lancia, so I guess that they want to now cannibalize what little market share Alfa Romeo has?
      luigi.tony
      • 1 Year Ago
      FIAT could call their sub-brand Dodge.
      alistair.dillingham
      • 1 Year Ago
      FIAT (!!??) contemplates a CHEAPER brand? In other news, it was found out that Pontiac designers contemplated an even uglier minivan than the Aztec
      ebn.hahn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fiat Sub-Brand!!?? How Funny!!, You cannot go SUB below FIAT. I didnt know FIAT was a brand that can spawn a sub-brand. Now that is news that calls for a big LOL. LOL LOL
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's like McDonalds creating a sub brand to compete with roadkill. 50c McChicken sandwich anyone?
      Jeremy Mock
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought Fiat was already the sub brand LOL!
      PatrickH
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hah! Last time I checked Fiat was a cheap brand.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Something cheaper than a Fiat... Hide your wallets.
      Snark
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fiat already has a brand that can sell small, basic cars in the developing world: Fiat. And they do. Half the cars on the road in Latin America are cheap Fiat Unos and Milles. They don't need a sub-brand. They ARE the sub-brand.
        Thomas D Hilton III
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Snark
        Thats what they want to change, Fiat today is a Fashionable and Posh Compact car company just like Mini. Fiat had "Autobianchi" as their cheap brand., GM had GEO
          Snark
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Thomas D Hilton III
          Yeah, I know. Problem is, there's no reason to, it's a waste of money, and Fiat already sells insanely cheap, nasty cars in the developing world. I live in Brazil part of the year, and I see what they sell in developing markets first-hand with regularity. There's nothing fashionable and posh about the brand anywhere but in Europe and the US. In Latin America, they sell the perfectly horrible but extremely cheap Mille, Palio, Strada, and Uno, all of which sell for about the same, after currency conversion, as a TATA Indigo or Dacia Logan.
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