Another big launch from Fiat. The new Mobi city-car is perhaps the brand’s most important global introduction of 2016 as it is expected to reach big production numbers and hit key markets. The Fiat Mobi was conceived, developed and manufactured in Brazil aiming to stop the big sales drop posted by the company during the last months, following the serious political and economic crisis that this country is facing right now. Fiat and Volkswagen are perhaps the two biggest losers with the current situation, strongly affected by old ranges and by the increasing popularity of smaller competitors such as Hyundai, Honda and Renault. After the arrival of the successful Toro compact pickup, it’s time for the Mobi to give Fiat some more oxygen.
Based on its dimensions, price and configuration, the Mobi is due to be positioned one step below the Uno, which is already considered a city-car. Following the international segmentation (see the latest update), the new Fiat should be part of a kind of sub-A segment which is also conformed by the new Renault Kwid, Maruti Alto, Hyundai Eon, and the VW Up!. They are all 5-door minicars no longer than 3,60 m which are becoming very popular in the developing countries. With its 3.596 mm length, the new Mobi becomes the second shortest Fiat after the 500 (3.546mm), and should replace the old Fiat Mille and give the consumers a modern choice in the mini-mini-car segment. It’s a new choice in a market that buys fewer cars but that could be attracted by a cheap, modern and easy car that basically uses most of the Uno successful features and adds new design language. In my opinion, the Mobi will be a complete success and at the same time it will have a negative effect on the Uno’s sales.
The Fiat Mobi has a positive and a negative sides. The good thing of this new city-car is that it will not only give some oxygen to Fiat operations in Brazil, but it can become a real player in other global markets such as India. This could be the very first Fiat that really fits the Indian taste following what the Renault Kwid has done so far in that market. Thanks to the Kwid, Indian became the sixth largest market for Renault, allowing the brand to increase its market share after several failed attempts with other models. There are few differences between the Kwid and the Mobi, so if Renault made it, Fiat could also have an interesting opportunity. One thing that Fiat should consider when launching the Mobi in the Indian market (if so) is to promote it by giving it a SUV character using the Way trim, which has been the key for the success of the Kwid. The Mobi Way has all the characteristics that Indians like: small, 5 doors, aggressive design, cheap and a big ground clearance.
The negative side of the Mobi is the possible impact it can have on the Uno’s sales. As stated above, there are very few differences between the new-born Fiat and the Uno, and this could play against the Uno, the oldest of them. Considering their look, trims, prices, things could get even worse for the Uno right after dealing with a big sales drop during the last months. I’m afraid that a big part of the Brazilian public won’t see any big differences between these two models and therefore the Uno demand would be negatively affected especially now that will turn six years without any major change. If Fiat wants to keep decent sales of this model then it should reposition it, by improving its trims and engines. The problem with upgrading the Uno is that it would definitely affect the Palio, which sits one segment above.