The WLTP storm is becoming a hurricane. The new emissions test is proving quite challenging as many car makers are still dealing with the homologations. It was the main reason of the big drops of registrations in Europe during September, with many countries posting double-digit drops. With the WLTP, the European legislation is becoming more and more challenging for the car makers.
One of the main consequences of the tougher requirements is the change on the product planning. The homologation gets more difficult when there are more versions, partly because under the new conditions all of them have to be tested. It all happens at the same time the diesel cars continue to lose ground in several markets in Europe.
The latest rumors indicate that Fiat is getting ready to drop the diesel versions of the Panda and 500 in order to avoid any homologation issues. The company might be considering getting rid of these versions as they may not meet the new standards but also because they do not really represent a big part of their sales.
Most of the city-cars sold in Europe are powered by gasoline engines, in contrast to the compact, midsize and premium segments. It is the case of the 500 and Panda, whose diesel versions sales don’t count for a big part of their total. In the first six months of this year, Fiat sold around 17.000 units of the Panda diesel, which counted for 18% of the total volume. In the case of the 500, the diesel is even less important, counting for 4% only to around 5.000 units in H1 2018.
Meanwhile the company announced the PHEV version of the Renegade and get ready the hybrid version of the 500L, known as Fiat 550L. It is an attempt to get prepared for the CO2 targets for 2021, 2025 and 2030, when things are going to get very complicated for the companies selling cars in Europe. The continent consumed more than 125.000 units of PHEV during the first 8 months of this year, up by 48%, boosted by the big incentives and the anticipated purchase that took place in August, just before the introduction of the WLTP.