This is not a design exercise and not even a speculation of how the next generation Fiat Punto would look like. It’s clear that it will take some more time to arrive as European car market faces its worst time in 17 years and makes no sense to launch a new generation. It is also evident that current generations shrinks in sales ranking and Fiat needs urgently a better offer in this competitive segment. No matter when the car will be launched (it is expected in late 2014), the new Punto must be something really new in the segment. Certainly Fiat is working on that and for sure the new generation will not disappoint anyone. But Fiat should do more with this expected generation. People will look for something else. It is why Fiat must offer a new car in terms of shapes, technique, features, but also in terms of positioning. By the time it will arrive, a new generation Ford Fiesta will come too, while the new Polo would be one year old. French would be showing the first facelift of their Clio and 208. The tough task will be to conquer those clients that moved to other options in the segment. As the Punto will continue to get old, those clients that drive one will choose other options in the segment when they will change their car. For sure, most of them will not want to buy the same car again. So, 2015 Punto will have not only to compete as usually with its rivals from Germany and France, but will have to bring those clients back to the brand. But if Fiat continues to do the same, they will get the same. A good design is not enough.
As ‘B-Segment’ is Europe’s largest one and Fiat is the leader in ‘A-Segment’, much more smaller, then Fiat should apply its knowledge and leadership skills in ‘B-Segment’. How? first of all Fiat should consider the idea of creating a specific line of ‘chic-retro’ products for other segments. It has worked in ‘A-Segment’ with the successful 500 which is not a direct rival of successful Fiat Panda. And now they took it to MPV Segment with the 500L. With next Punto they should develop the regular car for the mass (a 5 door hatchback for 5 passengers) but also a specific version for those looking for something more. It could be the 3 door version but with a different approach. Fiat has so many nameplates it could use again in order to enlarge 500 success in other segments. In ‘B’ one they could do the same they did with the 500 and Panda. The Punto could do Panda’s role in terms of design and target (for the mass) while a stylish version of a 3 door Punto would work as the 500 does in ‘A-Segment’. Another good example would be what Citroen does with its C3 and DS3. It’s not only about changing the shape of the car, but the approach. Some one could say that the MiTo is due to perform this task. Certainly the MiTo, which I don’t think it should exist yet, is the premium offer of Fiat Group in the segment. But in the future it should also be positioned as the premium-fancy-sporty small Italian car to make a difference with a coming stylish Punto (using Fiat 500 features in terms of positioning and design) and a really sporty Abarth Punto. In this scenario Fiat could use a single platform for 4 different kind of cars: the volume one, the chic-retro one, the premium one and the sporty one. Creating a more fancy and stylish Punto would mean more income for Fiat as small cars are not too profitable.
At the same time when projecting the next Punto, if nothing is ready yet, they should think more of Brazil. Current Punto is sold there but it could do more. Soon Brazilians will want more: technology, features, design and quality. Their income will make them to look for better cars no matter if they are a bit more expensive. The next Punto should take into account these particular needs in order to become a top seller over there and become the next option when current Palio buyers will want some more. Finally, this formula should be applied in other segments. For example, Fiat just launched the 500L and is positioning it as the ‘City Lounge’ minivan. With new Punto they should also offer a regular one with a complete different approach. Fiat 500 has worked everywhere it is presented and Fiat should learn more from it.