Reported by Motor Trend: Fiat's iconic new 500 has thus far been a success, with a four-month waiting list and plans to produce nearly 200,000 vehicles this year. Now, to keep the momentum going, the Torino-based automaker has plans to introduce two completely new small-car models in the next two years.
Fiat's Chief Technology Officer Harald J. Wester said in a recent interview that both cars will fill gaps in the automaker's lineup, the first being a B-segment car to slot between the Panda and larger Grande Punto. Tentatively called the Uno (revitalizing a name from Fiat's past), the car will be a low-cost vehicle targeted at developing markets such as China, South America, and India, and serve as a replacement for Fiat's current world car, the Palio. It will also be offered as a small wagon.
Fiat is hoping to build the Uno locally in some developing markets, focusing on countries where more than 100,000 vehicles could be sold yearly. In addition Wester brought up the possibility of selling the B-car under a different brand in order to preserve Fiat's current image. Speculation is that of the nameplates in Fiat's stable, the new world car could potentially be launched under the defunct Innocenti brand name.
In addition to the Uno, Fiat is also planning a new microcar that would be even smaller than the current 500 and Panda. Little is known about this car at present, but it could possibly see production as soon as the end of 2009 or early 2010.With recent reports of an investment in hybrid technology and possible plans to open a U.S. plant, Fiat has come a long way from when GM was willing to pay $2 billion just to dissolve a partnership with them. Hopefully the company's continued success will encourage them to bring the frisky 500 over to American shores. Oh, and a few more Alfas as well, please.