Naturally, you'd expect a massive automaker like Fiat to have an in-depth plan to exit the current European-market doldrums, and you'd expect that plan to include plenty of new vehicles to attract those precious buyers that still remain despite the financial downturn. And you'd be right, though Fiat does seem to have a few unexpected twists up its corporate sleeve.

Perhaps the biggest shocker is a report that Fiat will completely drop the Punto, a car with mass-market appeal aimed at small-car buyers cross-shopping the popular Volkswagen Polo. Its replacement will be a five-door Fiat 500 aimed at upmarket buyers (sounds awfully similar to the 500L) that will be built in Poland. Lower-end customers will reportedly be served by variants of the Fiat Panda.

Borrowing a page from the BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen playbook, reports Automotive News, Fiat is said to have plans to reignite production at its Italian factories by retooling them to build high-end vehicles from Maserati and Alfa Romeo. These will be marketed as premium products, built by skilled Italian workers (who are paid wages that are 75-percent higher than those building Fiats in Poland), and will be sold around the world.

As always, it takes money to make money, and Fiat will be investing an estimated $12.3 billion (9 billion euros) over the next three years in its European recovery plan. The payoff if it works, though, which will include bringing back tens of thousands of Italian workers, could be huge for both Fiat and the European economy.


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  • 32 Comments
      ChaosphereIX
      • 1 Year Ago
      wish the best of luck for the plan, I will do my part and get a new Alfa sedan, if it is worthy of the hallowed GTA machines of days gone by, I will get one
      gtv4rudy
      • 1 Year Ago
      The return of the original 'Sports Sedan'.
      HUNG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fix It Again Tony even their high end vehicles are unreliable.. the high end vehicles Maserati and Alfa are at least good looking Fiats are just plain dumb and UGLY
        Daniel5
        • 1 Year Ago
        @HUNG
        do some home work before making stupid comments that will get you father in life,unless you have honed some of those vehicle then you can make a valued comment
        benjamin_braddock
        • 1 Year Ago
        @HUNG
        Are you still living in the 1970s? Congratulations on the most outdated comment on Fiat. I'm guessing you haven't seen their new models?
      Duck
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about investing $5 billion in increasing the quality of your existing vehicles? JDPowers gives no Fiat currently a rating above 2 stars, and that's sad. Why did Hyundai take off? Because they fixed the miserable reliability, improved initial quality, and extended their bumper to bumper warranty to the best in the business. This alleviated consumers concerns over reliability for the most part. After all, its all fine and dandy if you can get a young shopper to buy a Fiat, great, but if they will never ever look at the brand again because of all the problems they had with their first one, no new models or amount of marketing is going to win them back into the more expensive vehicles down the road.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Duck
        We bought a 100k mi extended warranty for our 500L and would do so for any European car due to the techy powertrains. Early builds have had some issues with uConnect and the DCT overheat alarm, but so far I've heard nothing catastrophic yet, like the MultiAir failures on earlier Alfas and Fiats. I'll agree with Hyundai's US warranties being a big, big selling point. That's putting their money where their mouth is, and Fiat could benefit from a similar strategy.
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Duck
        Three friends have 500s, one of them an early adopter bought one of the first 500 'Ediziones' and has 70k on it. Never had anything major to gripe about, no trim falling off, etc.
        quuppa70
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Duck
        why has Hyundai poor sales in europe? no one buys those
      Richard Kodadek
      • 1 Year Ago
      FIAT US sales are dismal with good months running 6,000 or so cars. Guess the president was wrong when he pitched the take over of Chrysler by FIAT when he said Americans wanted small economy cars that FIAT had the technology to build. FAIT is the European version of the Yugo. Cheap with a poor reliability reputation against other European made cars. FAIT is not nor will be in my future.
        Alfinisti
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Richard Kodadek
        Chrysler has been underwater since Reagan bailed them out in the early 80's. The marriage to Mecedes did not benefit Chrysler which is why Mercedes dumped them on Fiat. Fiat is 11th largest auto maker in the world and has been in business for 100 years. They manufacture quality products that continue to win awards for quality.
          bootsnchaps60
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfinisti
          Actually Daimler "dumped" Chrysler on Cerberus, not Fiat. I've read that Daimler spent what money Chrysler had and moved on. Fiat seems to have some interesting products in Europe. It would be nice to have some other choices.
        bootsnchaps60
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Richard Kodadek
        The problem is that when gas prices go up, fuel efficient cars sell. When gas prices go down, Americans want high horsepower and big engines. I don't recall Obama pitching the takeover of Chrysler by Fiat; as I recall there were no other interested parties.
      sinistro79
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fiat cannot survive in the USA on a handful of 500 variants alone. They need more product and the persistent delay of Alfa Romeo will only make matters worse for the dealers. Just like the 8C before it, the 4C was intended to spearhead Alfa's return to the USA with models to follow shortly after the 4C was introduced. It will be a failed opportunity to build brand awareness if Fiat releases the 4C next years and follows with another Alfa two years later. America needs the new models faster than that.
        Alfinisti
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sinistro79
        yea, been waiting for the new Alfa's since the late 90's. I doubt they will ever be reintroduced in the US. Fiat needs more of a beachhead in the US market. But having been out of the US market it gave BMW, MERCEDES and VOLKSWAGEN time to absorb the US portion of the market that would consider driving european autos and the Japanese have absorbed the rest. Finding a US niche again is an uphill battle.
      rjwatsonmotors
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here in the U.S. Fiat is in real trouble. When first introduced the 500L didn't move the meter. Instead, it cannibalized sales from the 500. That was definitely not the plan. Since then, over the past three months total Fiat sales have plummeted by about 14% over the same three months last year. What's worse is that this is occuring in an up market. The margins on Fiats are skinny at best and their dealers are losing money hand over fist. It ain't good.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rjwatsonmotors
        Fiat needs a new marketing personality in the US. The tired Charlie Sheen campaign is crass and unattractive to 60% of the market--women. Advertise the heck out of the 500L's practicality (my wife bought one for that) and stop pandering to the testosterone niche market. This is also why the Scion xB is such a forgotten jewel. These cars have nearly as much interior volume as a Honda CR-V, at thousands less. The ads are done all wrong!!
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looking forward to relief from the predictable German trio
        Val
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Shiftright
        What's wrong with jaguar and cadillac?
          bootsnchaps60
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Val
          Actually replying to Infinisti-Ford hasn't owned Jaguar for years. Tata does.
          Alfinisti
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Val
          Ford owns Jaguar and GM owns cadillac. American mfg has improved but I still would not buy an american made car. That also means foreign autos made in the US.
      Vwfanatic
      • 1 Year Ago
      "reignite production at its Italian factories by retooling them to build high-end vehicles from Maserati and Alfa Romeo." It sounds like FIAT plans to rely on burning stacks and stacks of Euros to "reignite Italian factories" that will manufacture high-end vehicles for nonexistent customers.
        gtv4rudy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vwfanatic
        How can you have customers in the first place if you don't have any product yet? If Fiat can produce some decent high performance vehicles at a competitve costs which I think they are able to, they'll have the line ups of custmers.
      • 1 Year Ago
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        • 1 Year Ago
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      imoore
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is Lancia still around, or has it gone the way of Mercury, Pontiac, Plymouth and Saturn? Or is it hanging in limbo like Lincoln?
      Colin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fiat has a huge stash of cash in the bank. My concern is that the new models won't be properly developed, again.
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