Fiat have high hopes for the New
Large, which will enter a generally unsaturated
market segment next year. These first undisguised
photos reveal a stylish, well designed car that will
be a worthy successor to the popular Croma.
With prototypes of their latest top-of-the-range model
driving around virtually uncamouflaged, Fiat are preparing
themselves for a relaunch into the full-size class next
This represents a market segment from which Fiat have been
absent since the demise of their popular Croma model in
Due to limited
funds, Fiat were unable to develop worthy successors to the
Croma and Tempra.
The Croma was jointly developed with Saab, and also formed
the base of the Alfa Romeo 164 and Lancia Thema. However,
GM-owned Saab were no longer prepared to continue the
alliance with Fiat at the time of the Croma’s demise,
and launching their 9-5, based on a GM floorpan.
As a result, Fiat
decided to try and carry the weight of their two larger
models through with the mid-sized Marea and Marea Weekend.
recent GM-Fiat alliance has now provided Fiat with the basis
for which to build their new full-size car - the Epsilon
Giorgetto Giugiaro's 'Megagamma' introduced the idea
of a compact, yet sleek, upmarket motor car. Now
almost three decades later, the principle's of this
concept are being worked into the New Large.
The resulting New Large certainly bears the hallmarks of a
serious executive and family car in the full-size segment.
Obvious details are the handsome chrome grille,
characteristic sweeps above the front and rear wheel arches
and a generous sky window which appears to sweep right the
way back to just before the tailgate.
Fiat have high
hopes for the model, which will enter a generally
unsaturated market next year.
Their optimism is also for a good reason, seeing that the
main competition no longer have cars in the full-size
Ford no longer have a Scorpio (estate) in their model
line-up, whilst Renault have tried to launch themselves into
the luxury market with the Vel Satis to miserable avail.
Indeed, the only
cars worth comparing with the New Large are the Japanese
offerings and the Opel Signum, which is based on the same
also launched their
Pacifica model, which could be
regarded as the only 'American' competitor, although it is
to be built in Austria.
This aside, there
is an ironic story tied in with the New Large. Designed by
Italdesign-Giugiaro, the New Large offers generous head
room, more fitting for an MPV than an estate.
This carries on Giugiaro’s believe that in order to save on
interior space and exterior dimensions, the passengers have
to sit higher.
This is a philosophy which he has believed in ever since his
innovative Lancia Megagamma concept dating from 1978. It
introduced a new concept of a compact, yet sleekly tall,
up-market motor car.
Giorgetto Giugiaro says, ”Passengers must be seated in a
more vertical position thus improving the height of the
driver and passenger compartment and reducing the
environmental impact of the vehicle.
The dimensions of the New Large are generous: at
4700mm it is just 20mm less than Alfa Romeo's big
executive lugger, the 166, while the height is a
room-inducing 1600mm & the width is 2830mm.
"Less public space taken up by car means an improved flow of
road traffic and more available parking spaces.”
At the time Fiat
were concerned that the Megagamma was too out-of-touch with
the buying public.
Giugiaro recalls, "Umberto Agnelli of Fiat Auto told me:
'Nice car, all that's required is the courage to produce
it.' It was a missed opportunity."
years after the introduction of the Megagamma, Fiat are
finally using its general concept for a large portion of
vehicles that are spearheading their image re-launch, which
includes the promising New Large.
Let this be a lesson for Fiat to be more perceptive to
design trends in the future.
Throughout the summer, heavily disguised New Large
prototypes have been tested rigorously, as Fiat have
put in a huge effort to get this key new model