Fiat’s new Panda gets TwinAir engine
The car will be offered for the first time with the two-cylinder TwinAir engine, as seen in the popular 500.
Four cylinder petrol and diesel engines will also be in the line-up which will be joined later by a 4×4 model and the promise of more variants further down the line.
Prices have yet to be announced, reports Headline Auto, but at the international launch in Naples, Fiat said it was targeting a sub-€10,000 lead-in in all markets, placing it under £9,000 in the UK.
Dealers will try a new angle to attract customers, by offering test drives while giving their current model a check over.
Across Europe a ‘100 squared’ finance package will also be offered – €100 a month over 100 months. However this has not yet been discussed for the UK.
Some 6.4m Pandas have been sold since the first version launched in 1980. The previous generation model was launched in 2003 and built at Tychy in Poland.
The new model will see production returned to Italy, the car being assembled at the newly-refurbished factory at Pomigliano near Naples.
In 2008, Pomigliano was a struggling, under-used plant producing the ill-loved Alfa 159. Three years on it has been transformed, refurbished, re-tooled and re-trained. It now stands as a benchmark production facility not only for the Fiat Group, but alliance partner Chrysler as well.
According to Fiat head Sergio Marchionne, the state car maker’s intention is to help build a new industrial culture in the south of Italy; “We have delivered on a promise to restructure the whole plant which is now the most modern in Italy and probably in Europe.”
The plant can build 300,000 cars a year and has the flexibility to build more than one model.
Marchionne adds: “This is the best plant we have today in the Fiat and Chrysler manufacturing network and in manufacturing terms it is the shape of things to come in Europe, North America and Asia.”
Words by: Andrew Charman