Grande Punto is busy reving up for its Brazilian debut
early next month, the locally-built version of the
successful hatchback now preparing to roll off the
production lines at Betim. This will be the
first time that the Grande Punto has been built anywhere
outside of Italy since its market introduction in
Set to be
introduced to the media in Brazil on 8th August this
version to be built in the factory at will use
all-locally sourced components and under the skin it
will be quite a different animal to the version that has
taken Europe by storm, including its engines. At the
launch the Brazilian Grande Punto will have two engines
options, 1.4- and 1.8-litre, both featuring the
now-obligatory 'dual fuel' format, allowing petrol or
alcohol to be used either in pure or any mixture form.
The 1.4-litre 8v FIRE version, to be dubbed as the ELX,
is expected to produce around 80-85 bhp using pure
petrol and 80-86 bhp using pure alcohol. The 1.8-litre
version, to be sold as the HLX and as the range-topping
'Sporting' will produce 112-113 bhp (petrol) and 114-115
bhp (alcohol). The 1.4 ELX and 1.8 HLX will run on
14-inch wheels, while the 1.8 Sporting will top the
range and feature 16-inch wheels and options including
the SkyDome roof seen on European versions as standard.
While the 1.4
FIRE engine is a Fiat unit, the 1.8 engine is being
sourced from GM in Brazil, through its Chevrolet brand.
However the recent unpicking of the half-decade long
agreement between Fiat and GM, means that this unit will
soon be replaced by more powerful engine currently under
in final stages of development by Fiat Brazil. A new
1.9-litre 16v powerplant, which is closely based on the
former European-manufactured 'Torque' engine and with an
estimated 130 bhp, will eventually replace the launch GM
1.8 in the line-up. The new
1.9-litre unit will make its local debut in the Linea
'3-box' sedan, which will also be built in Brazil at
Betim from the end of this year, and its arrival as an
option in the Grande Punto is expected very shortly
afterwards. Meanwhile, the long-running 1.4-litre 8v
FIRE unit is expected to be upgraded and introduced in
the future in the Grande Punto in 16v format, and
boasting around 100 bhp. However this option is only in
the proposal stage at present and not as yet signed off.
The new Fiat Grande Punto will actually arrive on the
local market as
an additional model in the Fiat Brazil line-up, slotting
in above the Palio (which has just received a
comprehensive final facelift) and just below the Stilo.
The Sporting version, will have darkened headlight
backing plates, rear light housings with a white
upper section (similar to the Grande Punto Abarth)
and a Skydome roof as standard.
The 1.4-litre 8v FIRE version of the Grande Punto,
to be dubbed as the ELX, is expected to produce
around 80-85 bhp using pure petrol and 80-86 bhp
using pure alcohol.
As is the case in most global new
car markets, Brazilian buyers are rapidly becoming
aspirational in their new car purchase choices. Fiat
Brazil currently has a very 'budget' conscious model
range so the Grande Punto, which closely mirrors its
highly successful European counterpart, will offer
buyers a more premium product and being a process of
shifting the Fiat Brazil brand upmarket.
Grande Punto will feature a host of detailing
differences between the European and Brazilian versions.
A new interior will be offset by a slightly larger rear
luggage compartment. Other changes include slightly
reshaped door frame window apertures, new cylindrical
front foglamps, tailgate lock barrel mounted just below
the rear badge, a chrome finished front grille (to
provide 'family' continuity with the Linea) while the
'Sporting' option, which aims to draw on the sales
success of the European market's high-end Sporting
version, will have darkened headlight backing plates,
rear light housings with a white upper section (similar
to the Grande Punto Abarth) and a Skydome roof as
standard, although 16-inch alloy wheels will feature
rather than the European 17-inch specification ones
which will be an option. The new Fiat badge, recently
introduced in Europe on the Bravo, and now on the 500,
will make its South America debut on the Grande Punto.
This will also place it ahead of Europe where the model
is still sold with the blue background.
Prices in Brazil will range from R$
40.000 up to R$ 50.000. The Grande Punto will be quickly
rolled out onto the other major South American markets,
including Argentina, Chile (where it will replace the
European version currently being imported) and Mexico.
Fiat Brazil will also investigate bringing the
Abarth-branded version as part of a gradual global
roll-out by Fiat of the Abarth name. However these
models would likely be imported from Europe in very
small numbers and attract a hefty premium. A 'hot',
affordable version (in the vein of the successful Palio
1.8 R) is expected to be built in Brazil, while Fiat
will also look closely at an 'Adventure' option, which
would allow this very successful low-cost branding to
move into a more premium segment.