Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expected to boost its mainstream Italian brand’s product offering by including the long-awaited spin-off version of the new Mazda MX-5.
The news of the Fiat convertible model – referred to only as a “specialty product” due late in 2015 – comes as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles‘ five-year product and business plan announced by company CEO Sergio Marchionne overnight.
The all-new convertible, which has been co-developed with Mazda’s new MX-5 that is expected to be shown at the Los Angeles auto show in November, had been expected to be branded an Alfa Romeo until recently.
While it was not confirmed that Fiat would offer the new lightweight drop-top which is rumoured to revive the Barchetta name, there was no mention of the car as part of Marchionne’s plans for the Alfa Romeo brand, which he says will move towards offering a range of larger sedans and luxury-focused models rather than the current crop of small cars.
“Today we stand before you as a global car maker,” Marchionne said. “Today is much more than a new chapter. We are beginning to write a completely new book.”
Other product news includes the confirmation of the overdue Fiat 500X baby SUV model, which was expected to have been released late in 2013 and is closely related to the recently unveiled Jeep Renegade. That five-door Fiat off-roader is now expected to debut at the Paris motor show in October. It is currently unclear if Fiat Australia will offer the car locally.
Further ahead, a new-generation version of the Panda city crossover hatch will debut by 2018.
The company said it doesn’t expect sales to grow in Europe, with predictions of 700,000 sales there between 2014-2018 despite the flurry of new model activity.
The revamped Fiat Australia brand has seen sales skyrocket in the past 12 months under new distributorship, with sales up 427 per cent year-to-date compared to 2013. It is working from a low base, though, and only 1979 cars were sold to the end of April.