30 December 2013

Are Fiat are too reliant on the 500?

THIS YEAR, Fiat have expanded the 500 range. With the arrival of bigger and uglier 500L and 500MPW models added to the range. 

The 500L is a Supermini-cum-SUV crossover, which in effect, is to compete against the likes of the MINI Countryman and the Nissan Juke. 

Then there's the 500MPW. Slightly bigger than the 500L, which can also seat seven. So that makes the MPW cross between a supermini, an SUV and an MPV. Is Fiat going a niche too far there?

Fiat are only too aware that the regular 500 is a desirable car. There are many who would like to have one. But of course, there are many that can't buy one. I mean, it is a small car, and far from being a practical one. It's not ideal if you have kids, or if you regularly carry passengers on board. A case of being form over function.

Of course, Fiat do make a practical small car and that's the Panda - the car that the 500 is based on. In all honesty, I don't think trendy Mums up and down the country would want to be seen in one. They'd love a 500, but they're too impractical.

So Fiat have broadened the 500 range to offer a more practical car. Yet something (to their eyes) more fashionable than the Panda. Like the smaller 500, you can personalise it to suit your tastes. Looks are subjective, but Fiat have messed it up on making a bigger 500. It looks like its waistline has got bigger from eating too many pies. 

Then there's those rubber mouldings on the and the rear and the sides of the car. Sure it's practical as children are usually pretty careless when they get out of the vehicle in a Tesco car park. The cars parked to them will get a ding from them bashing the door open. But them strips are just plain ugly and clutters the design of the exterior. Fiat have made some cars with oddball and challenging looks before. The bigger 500s are the most recent ones since the Multipla.

But with the 500 range extended with new additions. This has got me asking on whether Fiat are too reliant on their Cinquecento. In case you didn't know, that's 500 in Italian.

Well with the new 500L and MPW models, it definitely showcases Fiat are reliant on the 500. They have released a new Panda though. The Punto and the Bravo are getting long in the tooth, and are soldering on for now.

I can definitely see on why Fiat have made bigger cars that bore the 500 nameplate. From a business perspective, it's an opportunity to potentially capitalize the success of the 500. The MINI Countryman is doing well for BMW. Fiat have obviously took a leaf out of their book in creating the 500L and MPW.

Fiat are good at making small cars. They're ones that sell. Maybe they should try and make new cars that isn't a 500. I've said this before on a previous post. About them making a sports car like the old Coupe and Barchetta. If not, then maybe a new Punto.

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