The platform Fiat uses for its Punto and MiTo will soon be available in much more models. The idea is to build future larger cars such as minivans and SUV, for many brands of the group. The first model to use it is the ‘B-MPV’ Fiat 500L which goes on sale in Europe this month and in the US market next year, all of them built in Serbia. But Fiat wants more and is expected that a small SUV under Fiat and Jeep brands will use it too. It is unclear if next generation Jeep Compass/Patriot, which belong to ‘C-SUV’ segment, will use this platform as it can be enlarged up to 4.4 meters in length and can be equipped with petrol engines up to 2.4 liters. Fiat calls this platform the ‘Small’ one, while the CUSW platform is the one for larger models such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta that is the base for Dodge Dart/Fiat Viaggio, and may be the same base for future Chrysler 200 to be presented in Detroit 2013.
The idea with the use of the ‘Small’ platform is to offer several models from a unique base so Fiat can save money building the cars wherever they need to. It is also part of Fiat plans in Italy after the meeting Sergio Marchionne and John Elkann had with Italian government. The main conclusion after the meeting is that Fiat and the government will look for solutions to enhance local production more focused on exports to American market. Obviously it means that they will have to work hard on more competitive models so they can some success in that difficult market. Marchionne asked for government financial help as it happens in Brazil with their new factory in Pernambuco. The hard thing is whether Italian government can do it when it is facing so many problems with the debt. If it is just a matter of getting lower interest rates for loans it is certainly a good move, but if Fiat wants the government to be an active part of the solution, personally I think it will not solve anything at the end. If there is any company that always depends on public help when things don’t work, it means that something does not work, and public intervention means less independence and more problems with unions.
Source: Automotive News Europe