Opinion

"Fiat’s had more false dawns than the England football team"

We’ve been teased by the prospect of future Fiats before, only to find another 500 variant, says Steve Fowler

I often refer to Fiat as the 500 Car Company. Log on to the company’s website, and of the nine bodystyles on offer, five of them wear the 500’s friendly face. When it comes to Fiat’s sales, 500s account for the vast majority, with the new 500X set to increase that even more.

This week’s revelation that the long-awaited roadster the Fiat Group has been developing with Mazda will wear a Fiat badge (first it was rumoured to be an Alfa, then an Abarth...) is a sign of expansion beyond the 500.

Likely to be called 124 Spider, after the famous sports car of the sixties and seventies, the roadster will be followed by a new Golf and Focus rival – a global sector in all its forms (hatch, saloon, estate) that’s difficult to ignore for any car company.

Insiders say that next up will be a Punto replacement – another big-selling segment – but plans to expand the Panda range with a bigger Qashqai-rivalling model have been delayed. That’s a shame, as for me it’s the more innovative models like the 500 and Panda that have helped to put Fiat back on the map. Recent history has shown it doesn’t do mainstream well.

But as those Panda ‘Qashqai’ rumours prove, we’ve been teased by the prospect of future Fiats over and over – only to find another 500 variant finding its way into the showroom. Fiat’s had more false dawns than the English football team, so let’s hope the 124 Spider really is the start of a Fiat renaissance we can get excited about.

At least Fiat’s dealers are showing signs of improvement – up four places in last year’s Driver Power survey.

This year’s survey closes soon, so click here to have your say on your car and your dealer.

Recommended

Stellantis: FCA and Groupe PSA merger confirmed
Stellantis logo
Fiat

Stellantis: FCA and Groupe PSA merger confirmed

Official: merger between two car giants becomes effective as of 16 January 2021 
16 Jan 2021
Fiat-Chrysler faces £5bn UK lawsuit over defeat devices
Fiat Doblo 2015 - steering wheel
Fiat

Fiat-Chrysler faces £5bn UK lawsuit over defeat devices

Around half a million FCA-engined vehicles in England and Wales could be affected by diesel emissions scandal, says law firm
27 Oct 2020
Fiat Centoventi on the way to showrooms
Fiat Centoventi Concept front quarter
Fiat

Fiat Centoventi on the way to showrooms

The electric Fiat Centoventi urban city car is under development and will sit alongside the Fiat 500e in the brand's new-look range
5 Mar 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 Mercedes EQA electric crossover arrives with 302-mile range
Mercedes EQA - front
Mercedes EQA

New 2021 Mercedes EQA electric crossover arrives with 302-mile range

The new Mercedes EQA is a premium rival for the Volkswagen ID.3 and Kia e-Niro, with a maximum claimed range of 302 miles
20 Jan 2021
BMW, Mercedes and Tesla owners could be at risk of higher insurance premiums
bmw x5 m50d tracking front
News

BMW, Mercedes and Tesla owners could be at risk of higher insurance premiums

Raw, uncapped insurance group rating data could be used by insurers to increase premiums on various high-end cars
19 Jan 2021
New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time
Skoda Fabia spy
Skoda Fabia

New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time

Latest Skoda Fabia supermini is due to arrive later this year – and our spy photographers have spotted a mule in sporty Monte Carlo trim
20 Jan 2021