21.04.2010 FIAT GROUP AUTOMOBILES OUTLINES PRODUCT PLANS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS

ALFA ROMEO MITO
FIAT 500C
LANCIA YPSILON
FIAT GRANDE PUNTO
ALFA ROMEO SPORTWAGON TI

From top to bottom: The Alfa MiTo will receive a facelift in 2012 one year before a new 5-door version is added to the range; the Fiat 500C will be restyled in 2012 along with its closed roof sister; the current Lancia Ypsilon will be replaced next year; the Fiat Grande Punto will be phased out in 2013; while the Alfa 159 Sportwagon will end its product lifecycle in 2012.

The future of Fiat Group Automobiles for the next five years was mapped to investors in Turin out today, and while Alfa Romeo and Lancia were both promised a meaningful future, there was a lack of bite in the proposed model roll out, and in particular for the Fiat brand. By the end of the five year plan Fiat Group envisions the European new car market having bounced back to close to 2007 levels and CEO Sergio Marchionne believes he can attain his vision of 6 million units sales worldwide combined between the Italian carmaker and Chrysler Group.

After much thought Marchionne has emerged with a "commitment to develop Alfa Romeo as a premium full liner brand" and the historic marque which celebrates its centenary this year will get a "strong European push" and yet another green light to return to the United States with "entry into NAFTA extended by Maserati at high-end," its return provisionally coming through piggybacking onto the Trident dealership network. Chrysler Group will be fully integrated into the Fiat Group in Europe and this will contribute significantly to a 400,000 target for D-segment cars. Lancia meanwhile will also become a "full liner" brand, it will be integrated with the Chrysler brand but will assume responsibility for European markets except the UK (where it isn't represented).

Fiat Automobiles will see a string of elderly models phased out this year, the Seicento (still assembled in Poland), the last-generation Punto Classic, the "Project World Car's Siena/Albea sedan member, the unsuccessful D-segment Croma estate, the Multipla, and the Ulysse (and its Lancia sister the Phedra, both built in a joint venture with PSA) large MPV, all getting the axe.

In the short term there will be very little new to add to the Fiat portfolio, the long-delayed next-generation Panda is still planned for a launch next year when its production will be switch to Alfa Romeo's factory at Pomigliano d'Arco near Naples while the Dodge Journey will be badged by Fiat to give the Italian firm a better grip in the SUV segment. Finally next year will see a refresh for the C-segment Linea sedan (built in Turkey for selected European markets) and the last-generation Punto-based Idea "mini MPV" will cease production.

In 2012 the 500 and 500C will feature a restyling, the "low-cost" sub-B-compact model will finally arrive, most likely to be built in Serbia and India to start with, a 5-and-7-seater MPV will replace the discontinued Idea and be built in conjunction with Chrysler Group, there will also be a C-segment sedan shared with the U.S. carmaker, while the Qubo will get a facelift. The Sedici, built in Hungary in a joint venture with Suzuki, will be phased out in 2012. The penultimate year of the plan, 2013, see a new city car based on Fiat's "Mini" platform, most likely a revival of the axed Topolino project, the Grande Punto will be phased out at the same time as the Punto Evo gets a refresh, and the joint Chrysler C-segment sedan will spawn derivatives including a station wagon. The C-segment Bravo will also be canned without any facelift during its lifecycle. The final year of the plan, 2014, is the bleakest of all, the slides list only refreshes for the next-generation Panda, the Fiat-badged Dodge Journey, and the new DoblÚ which was introduced at the beginning of this year.

The picture for Lancia and Chrysler is quite blurred at the moment with a number of Chrysler-based models set to be added to the Italian brand's portfolio to widen its range. The next-generation Ypsilon, based on the "Mini" platform (500/Panda) will still arrive next year, built at the Tychy plant in Poland, with the current B-segment model phased out from Termini Imerese. This new Ypsilon is scheduled in the plan to recieve a facelift in 2014. The rest of the current Lancia line up will be phased out over the five years, the PSA joint venture-built Phedra large MPV going this year, the Musa in 2012 and the Delta in 2013. Next year the reworked Chrysler 300C will arrive in Europe and it could be also badged as a Lancia before the end of the product plan while Chrysler's Grand Voyager (the international designation for its Town & Country minivan) is also likely to join the Lancia line-up next year as a straight replacement for the Phedra. This model will itself be replaced in 2014 according to the presentation. There will be a new C-segment sedan and derivatives in 2012, this is most likely to be based on Fiat's C-segment platform due for that year although on the slide it is curiously shaded in as a Chrysler developed model. Meanwhile there is a D-segment sedan listed for 2013, which is shaded on the slide for development by the Fiat Group although Marchionne has repeatedly stated in the past that Chrysler will develop the next Sebring, and finally a Chrysler-developed D-segment crossover is proposed for 2014.

Alfa Romeo has a number of models scheduled that would tie-in to a U.S. launch which was stated to be back in the picture today, although it remains to be seen how many of these will actually materialise. The GT Coupť will be phased out this year as will be the 147, both are produced in Naples, while the Pininfarina-built Brera and Spider will be dropped mid-next year, the Spider schedules to be replaced after a year-and-a-half's gap in 2013 by a new model based on Chrysler's renewed 300 platform. The MiTo will get a facelift in 2012 and a 5-door version, which will also be targeted at a U.S. comeback, will be added the year after. One class up, the brand-new Giulietta, presented to the media just weeks ago, is scheduled for a facelift in 2014 according to the plan and this restyled version will also be targeted for the U.S. return. The 159 will continue through to 2012 without any modifications to be replaced that year by a new sedan and station wagon, engineered for the U.S., and dubbed as the Giulia. Finally two new Alfa Romeo-branded SUVs are proposed, a C-segment model in 2012 and a D-segment contender in 2013. There is no mention in the plan of a new large executive sedan, widely dubbed in talk as the "169".

Lastly there is nothing new in the five-year future for Abarth and the niche sports division won't expand its range beyond the versions of the Fiat 500 and Punto models it currently offers. Abarth will update the 500 and 500C in 2012 when Fiat refreshes the A-segment cars and there will be an upgrade from the Scorpion-tuned Punto Evo to the next-generation Punto when this is introduced by Fiat a year later.

Jeep is also integrated into the Fiat Group European line-up for the 2010-2014 period with seven models set to feature in the timeframe. The new Grand Cherokee, a project developed by Chrysler Group's previous owners Mercedes-Benz and then private equity house Cerberus and refined over the last year by Fiat, will arrive in Europe this year to join the Wrangler which is set to feature for the full five years of the plan and it will receive a facelift in 2012. The Patriot, Compass and Cherokee will continue until 2012 before being phased out with the first two being pencilled in for modifications next year. Finally a new C-segment SUV and next-generation Cherokee will be added to the European Jeep range in 2013.
 

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