Friday 12 February 2010

Next generation Fiat Panda due in 2011

Fiat will launch a redesigned Panda in 2011, after CEO Sergio Marchionne lifted a 15 month spending freeze. Marchionne’s spending freeze ran from October 2008 to December 2009 and saw the delay of the new Panda, Alfa Romeo Giulietta and a replacement for the Lancia Ypsilon.

In a telephone conference with financial analysts, Marchionne said launching any major new models last year in the middle of the global financial downturn would have been a “waste”.

“That's the reason why I think we intelligently postponed a number of our programs to make sure that it coincided with what I consider to be a structural recovery in demand in 2011 and later years,” he said. Fiat’s investment in 2009 was 32% lower than 2008’s. In 2008, it stood at €4.97bn (£4.34bn) and will be €4.5bn (£3.93bn) this year.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta will be launched in Geneva next month – a year later than originally planned. The Panda will be launched in 2011 – two years later than originally planned.

Although information on the forthcoming Panda is scares, it will underpin the current model – which has been on sale since 2003 and styling will be influenced by the current 500 city-car, which itself is based on the Panda.

Under the bonnet, we can expect a 65bhp naturally aspirated , 80bhp – 105bhp turbocharged, 0.9 litre two-cylinder MultiAir petrol engine to be used. On the diesel side, a 1.3 litre MultiJet engine producing 95bhp is expected to be lifted from the current 500. In addition to the regular car, the 4x4 model is in the pipeline, alongside a sportier Panda.

Marchionne has also revealed plans to extend Lancia’s European range by four models in 2011. Rebadged versions of Chrysler’s Sebring saloon and cabriolet, 300C and Voyager will all be added to the Lancia range.

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