The new B-SUVs to save Fiat

One of the many renderings made by the brand fans.

One of the many renderings made by the brand fans.

This is mere speculation. But it is my belief that the next Fiat 500X and the Jeep B-SUV will be a big success that will save Fiat market share in Europe. The car hasn’t been unveiled yet and few spy pictures don’t tell anything about its shapes and size. It will be Fiat’s main launch next year in Europe, and both products should be presented in Geneva 2014 (in less than 4 months). But why I believe they’re going to be a complete success in order to help Fiat to rise its market share in Europe? because I’m afraid that the new 500X will hit the market by offering the very first stylish small SUV following what the regular 500 did in 2007. By that time Fiat revolutionized Europe’s city-car market with the launch of the new 500 based on one simple feature: style. People love it, love its details, its personality and many are ready to pay even more money to have one instead of its boring rivals. If Audi, BMW and Mercedes have succeed with the premium formula, and Dacia shines with the low-cost offer, the 500 is the best example of how a small car can become aspirational. A unique and stylish small SUV could become Fiat’s second big hit and save it from losing more market share.

Another rendering. It looks a bit normal here.

Another rendering. It looks a bit normal here.

Considering the fact that more and more European drivers now prefer a SUV than a regular car, Fiat could benefit from the 500 positioning and nameplate to promote a bigger and stylish version to catch the new buyers. French market explains quite well this trend. Before the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur were launched, French consumers were not really attracted by this kind of cars. Now that they are available in the market, they are helping Renault and Peugeot to rise their market share. However, even if many automakers have launched their B-SUV, there is still room for a stylish one. That’s the role that the Fiat 500X will play. If the 500L can be considered a success, based on its sales figures in Europe, the 500X will benefit from a SUV appeal and at the same time from an even stronger ‘look and feel’ relation with the regular 500. This success will be accompanied by the Jeep B-SUV that will be the ideal choice for those looking for a small but a real SUV. For now we will have to wait some months to see the new-born (they are expected to be presented in Geneva 2014). But if they follow the 500 values and Fiat position them in the right way, I’m sure the company will experience almost the same success that still has the city-car, but charging much more money for it.

The Jeep Willys concept. Will Jeep use one of these concepts as the inspiration for its first B-SUV?

The Jeep Willys concept. Will Jeep use one of these concepts as the inspiration for its first B-SUV?

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28 responses to “The new B-SUVs to save Fiat

  1. The 500x will be a needed and welcomed addition to Fiat’s lineup, and will clearly retain the 500 family styling cues. I’m looking forward to seeing it in Geneva, but i’m not so sure it will be sufficient to ‘save Fiat’…

    My concern is for the B and C segment cars which Fiat is allowing to die. Unfortunately the Bravo is already as good as dead, but the Punto has been a top seller in the past and the name still retains very strong brand equity (even though the current car is an old design). There’s no news about a new Punto coming, just expansion of the 500 and Panda lines which seem to be the only passenger car nameplates Fiat plans to keep alive.

    It might be good for Fiat to keep the Punto name alive also and perhaps ‘grow’ it into a more mainstream C segment hatchback, for those who don’t gravitate towards the Panda and 500 design statements. It would certainly help fill a serious void in Fiat’s line-up once the Bravo is gone.

  2. Interesting car will have good results in a growing segment but still can’t guarantee big numbers … More or less like 500 L….. For a complete fiat recovery much more is necessary and of course the big european crisis was postponing investments with valid reasons …a sort of waiting at the window to see what’s the weather like…. Clever fox Marchionne or Marpionne as we say here in italy

  3. The formula of the 500 will exhaust soon. It’s hard to fiat based its entire line in a single car, with a retro style. I miss the old phylosofy of small and efficients fiats, full of creativity in style.

  4. Agreed Juan. I’m hoping it will look great. I am a bit disappointed with the 500L’s looks. Even though sales are good. The 500X should be a massive hit. And yes it will help Fiat’s market share but more importantly it will help their profitability. I think the mainstream models will come from cheaper manufacturing bases. Bravo – Viaggio hatch and Punto – from Serbia maybe? Then all models will be profitable. The 500 formula is unlikely to die I believe if manged carefully. They can make it the city 911.

    • A replacement for the Linea will be built in Turkey starting 2015 (possibly the Viaggio), but there’s no new Punto planned (yet). The Dart/Viaggio have both been sales disappointments, and the 500 is loosing steam fast, especially in America.
      Fiat wants to become the new MINI, but this is a highly risky strategy as the 500 lacks the continuity of the iconic MINI marque.

      • Viaggio is C-segment. Linea is B-segment. Two different cars. A hatch back of the new Linea will likely be the Punto replacement. The Dart launch was a hurried job because uit had to meet a deadline for more Chryco shares. Hence unsuitable (for the US) power and drivetrain was offered. The new 2.4 GT should be hitting the showrooms now and we will see if it can increase sales. All indications are that it will. And yet the 9 Speed auto is not ready. People in the US also say that the Dart pricing is not right. Anyway despite all of that they should hit 100k by year end. That’s quite good for a brand that has been absent from that segment for years.

      • Dart GT production started in July already (4 months ago) so any impact would be showing in October numbers already.

    • Don’t think so. The 500 is built in Poland, so is the previous generation Panda, and the 500L is built in Serbia. None of them have suffered from low sales. The Bravo, on the other hand, which is built in Italy…

      • Probably we will never know this. No new Punto in sight now and in the near future…
        Bravo = Fiat is not competitive in C segment since 2001 Stilo.
        At first it challenged Golf in Italy. Now it’s an old car.

      • Exactly. And they need to make a a decent margin. I would bet that the 500 and the 500L are profitable and the Bravo is not……

  5. It would be very interesting knowing the profitability of each car.
    Personally in the future I won’t buy a Fiat or an Alfa car which isn’t built in Italy.

  6. So Classic Bob you say that a C-segment sedan will replace the Linea?? That’s strange.

    • This is what automotive news seems to report, but it’s possible that they are misinformed. However, I hear nothing about a new Punto or Linea, except for an updated Linea planned for India (probably on same old platform). Fiat desperately needs to develop a new Punto to regain market share, it’s the top selling ‘bread and butter’ car they’ve ever have.

  7. Fiat needs to do a new Punto/Linea. This segment are so important to FIAT aroud the world (in Europe and Latin America), and FIAT cant be out.

  8. Fiat obvoiusly sacrifices presence in all car segments, and counts only on profitable modelss. Believe me, I heard this from important people from Fiat. Let us see couple of years more, and wait what will happen with other Europian car makers that are selling their cars mostly in Europe (PSA, Renault or Opel – who have complete offer in all segments, but investment in these modelswill surely give only loses in such European car sales trend and quantitites. Fiat will survive just because does not have complete offer…Current times are dictating this approach…

    • Perfect!
      Working on dodge/chrysler all around the world will permit them to increase their offer everywhere
      don’t you agree?Isn’t this on of the harder task for fiat?

    • Fiat will survive because of Fiat Brazil, Chrysler and luxury Ferrari and Maserati.
      But will be wiped out in Europe.

    • Manufacturers with products sell. The other’s ones as Fiat are losing market share in Europe since 2009

      • European market share …

        2009:
        Fiat 7.4%
        Alfa Romeo 1.1%
        Lancia 0.8%

        2013 (10 months):
        Fiat 4.8%
        Alfa Romeo 0.5%
        Lancia 0.6%

        Given the drop in the market share and the overall economic situation, the unit volume is down almost 50%.

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