Europe: a new segment is born

The Fiat Linea MY 2013 is the best selling car in Turkey and is also produced in Brazil and India.

Europeans love hatchbacks for the starting segments: A, B and C. It has been a constant during the last 20 years when this kind of body has become the most popular in the continent. All car makers offer a hatchback, premium Germans included, and VW Golf 3/5 door hatchback has ruled for a long. But cars as other goods depend a lot on the way economy goes. The last 3 years have been difficult for European car market, and it seems it will last for other 3 or 4 more, and car makers are changing their future plans in order to maintain their positions in the market. Part of this strategy is to understand consumer’s behavior  in a difficult period like this, and offer the right product for the right time. Western Europeans are now looking for sedans in these segments, something that was not even considered by a lot of carmakers as their offer was limited by hatchbacks body. The crisis might had an effect on what some Europeans are looking for in a car as their income has decreased, and their future is quite well uncertain. Now they want less prices and more roomminess and only a sedan can offer it.

The turkish Linea is sold in some Western European countries but has not been successful at all. The car is 4.44 m long

Therefore the segment of B and C segment sedans could be arriving to West Europe because of the latest announces of important car makers such as PSA and VW. This segment is more known in emerging countries where most of buyers look for a small-medium cheap sedan with independent trunk. Fiat Linea or Siena/Albea, or VW Voyage, Suzuki D-Zire and some others have been offered in Brazil, Turkey, India and some other important markets but never in Europe. This week, though, VW showed the first images of their new B/C-segment sedans: the Skoda Rapid and Seat Toledo, while PSA did the same with their 301 and C-Elysée. In fact is not easy to positionate them in a specific segment, as their measures are long but their prices won’t be high: the Rapid should be located between the B-segment Fabia and C-segment Octavia, while the new Toledo would be between the Ibiza and Leon. Peugeot has said that its 301 will be the cheap version of 308, which is C-segment, but in reality it looks more like a 208 sedan. Anyway, these 2 Europeans car makers realized that people may be wanting other kind of car in this period. It is why this new sub-segment may be rising only in Western Europe, though the big part of sales is abroad.

Fiat Linea interior based on Fiat Punto MY 2013

Fiat, a strong player in low segments lacks of an interesting sedan. In some European markets, like Spain and Greece they already offer the Linea, the sedan version of Punto produced in Turkey, where it is the best selling car. But sales numbers of this large sedan (4.44 m) has not been good in the rest of the continent. The car is really cheap and big inside, with an enormous trunk but very small engines and poor quality. The car is not even offered in Italy as people don’t like it, but what if Germans and French are successful with their new small sedans? Fiat should repositionate this model and offer it with better engines and quality and at the same time make useful the advantage of producing it in a country with lower labor costs than Western Europe. The car could have interesting numbers if they change the way the sell it and offer a medium sedan with great roominess, and add the latest engines Fiat has developed in Italy. Time will show how right were Germans and French by offering these new cars and how wrong was Fiat not making useful of this interesting sedan.

Fiat Grand Siena, launched in March/12 for Brazilian market. An enormous success

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9 responses to “Europe: a new segment is born

  1. I don’t think this segment is going to be very important in Italy, so I think there is no really need for Fiat to develop an interesting new version of the Linea.
    BTW I saw a Linea in the streets twice here in Italy, the first time I was like OMG what is this thing?
    Instead of selling Linea in Europe I think Fiat should take the chance to strenghten its position in Turkey by increasing other cars sales (im not sure but the very majority of Fiat sales in Turkey are Lineas). also if Pandas & others may be too expensive for Turkey.

    • But that’s the point: is not only Italy. If this segment becomes popular in other countries of Europe, Fiat must be there with an excellent product. I agree Fiat should improve what it offers in Turkey to not to depend exclusively on the Linea, but remember the Dobló is also made there and is very popular, and the Albea used to be also popular. They should make the new Siena and develop a range of low cost products like in Brazil.

  2. Please, Fiat, don’t import any cars to Europe that are built in the MENA region (bar Israel, which AFAIK doesn’t make cars). It’s bad enough that the Doblò is imported from Turkey, there’s no reason for Europeans to want to support this part of the world financially!

    • Dear Marchio; You know this fameous song: “where do I begin”, perhaps you don’t remember, I remind you, the song of “love Story”; firstly, I’m afraid most of Europeans and specialy Italians are prety clever than you and they know very well where should make their investments as economicaly; and secondly and finaly, I’m sure that nobody teached you since today that, You’re gaining huge amount money in this way…Better you should develope yourself a little bit …

  3. Oh yes i forgot the Doblò.
    You are right its not only Italy, but as the Punto and the Bravo (which are pretty good) do not sell much in Europe, in my opinion also a car like that would not have a great success and therefor may not be worth developing. And I think it would not have a great success because people prefer local (german french and spanish) brands ( apart from very trendy cars like the lucky 500).

  4. I am really inspired along with your writing skills and also with the format on your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you customize it yourself? Either way stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to look a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  5. I want to make an important correction about the “quality” of Fiat linea which produced in turkey. As far as I know, production quality of Fiat fabric in Turkey is one of the best one in all fiat fabrics all over the world. Additionaly, many of professional testers never have been critized the finishing quality of linea. I like this car and it!s worth to buy…

  6. Be careful if you want to buy Linea !!! My Linea – 3 steering boxes damaged in 75000 km !!! and many other pieces changed. Fiat told me – ,,is not our problem,, !!!

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