First they surprised us with presentation of Dodge Dart in Detroit. And then they went even further when they showed its cousin, the new Fiat Viaggio in Beijing. Most of comments online, both specialized media and common readers, were positive and crearly nice when watching the first images. Certainly it is a nice C segment sedan for a market that really likes big sedans with a lot of accesories. Fiat was one of the last car automakers not to have a full presence in China and therefore they needed urgently to come again (after 2 tries) offering the best of the best.
Fiat will build the Viaggio from July/12 to be on sale this year in the world’s largest market. The challenge will not be easy, as segment C is really crowded of options and represented almost 40% of total passenger cars market in 2011. Though some analyst have said that Fiat has arrived late in this important market, other sources indicate that what is really important is the fact they will offer a local product, with the latest technology, good shape and with the size most chinese people like. In other words, I believe the Viaggio can reach 60000 units sold during its first year with important growth in coming years as brand image begins to be recognized.
Nevertheless its possible results at home, by reading some comments in Spanish, Italian, and French sites, most of people have claimed the possibility of offering the Viaggio in Europe. C segment is Europe’s second largest car segment (the first in Germany), and the competition is really tough as its type of client is someone conservative who does not want to change the model, and who does not want to risk with unknown brands. It explains why VW Golf has been ruling Europe from so many years, others like Koreans have gained some market share thanks to their warranty offer, while others such as Fiat have had a bit of the cake and continue to decrease their market share.
Fiat Group needs to increase its market share in C segment in Europe. They have reached some important numbers with Alfa Romeo Giulietta, but as its demand begins to slow down, while Fiat Bravo and Lancia Delta are not at all popular, the situation must be changed as soon as possible. Is it the Viaggio a solution? personally I don’t think so, as this model is really big, does not offer a hatcback version (the largest part of C segment) and Fiat’s image as large car maker is not well known in Europe. For me, the best thing Fiat could do would be to offer it, after a deep make up, as the larger version of Alfa Giulietta offering also a SW version (very popular in Italy). It could increase not only C segment offers but Alfas’ range of models. So it seems this beauty sedan will take a long viaggio before coming to Europe.