By on January 18, 2012

Fiat will uneveil a bigger, five-door model, possibly related to the 500, at this March’s Geneva Auto Show. The new car will be built in Fiat’s Serbian plant and was designed with the U.S. market in mind, according to Automotive News. Europe will receive the new model before we do, and hopefully Sergio Marchionne isn’t “naively optimistic” about the car’s success in America. No word on whether or not it’s the Fiat Panda. We hope so.

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28 Comments on “Fiat To Launch “Grande” 500 At Geneva Show...”


  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    How big would this be compared to the “normal” 500? I remember thinking the Mini Countryman was going to be Escape-esque in size< but I saw one in person and it wasnt too big.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    If history is any quide, this would be 600…

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    This looks like a slight refresh of the current “new” European Panda. They do not have the 4×4 model out there yet, so that might be it… Top of the line FWD Panda with the optional 1.3L 75hp engine is around $20-22K in Europe. Pretty much the same as the 500 lounge edition with the 1.4L engine. If this is 4wd, unless they keep the prices down to $15Kish, it will probably be a no-go in the States…

  • avatar
    NN

    The last Serbian-built car we had here was the Yugo….which was, in actuality, an old Fiat Panda!

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I would love the Panda or something similar to come over as an alternative to the Fiat 500 and Fiat is going to build a new MPV that uses a modified, wider Fiat 500 snout, but use the body of the Panda in a widened chassis that will either be 161″ or 169″, depending on whether it has the 3rd row or not.

    Don’t know if it is actually slated to come to the US but it seemed like I read that it will.

    The Panda is still considered an A segment car, but in a 5 door hatch configuration though.

    • 0 avatar
      theonewhogotaway

      The Fiat MPV you describe is already in production, called the Fiat Qubo. Also has a larger MPV sibling (B segment) based on the Fiat Punto platform called Doblo. I doubt that we will see any of those in the US, but you never know, since Ford is bringing the C-max over…

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        I had heard we’re only getting the EV C-Max.. hope that rumour’s false..

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        Nope, this is a NEW model as I described, it is a larger sized panda with a modified Fiat 500 snout.

        Click on this link to see what I mean.

        http://www.fiat500usa.com/2012/01/us-fiat-ellezero-confirmed.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Fiat500USA+%28Fiat+500+USA%29

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not going to be the new Panda. It’s Fiat’s new MPV, codenamed Ellezero, which will be pretty much a giant Panda with 500 styling though. There are already several spyshots of the Ellezero.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Now if they were to bring the A segment Panda straight to the US, more or less as is with the necessary mods for US regs, I’d have been just as interested in it as I am the 500. Oh well.

    The current restyle is very nice and stylish, as was the original 2003 design, lightly freshened since then before this new version came about and I like stylish designs, as long as they are also practical as well and Fiat seems to understand that stylish looks and practical interiors are possible, not an either/or situation.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Agreed. With a small family this car is perfect. Was looking very forward to buying a Ford C-Max when I got back to the states to replace the monstrous Dodge Caravan, but of course Ford pulled its punch on it and is importing only the expensive EV model. Thinking this is worth a good look.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        I don’t put my kids in little death traps. To me, this is what a retired widowed aunt would use to cart around her dogs.

      • 0 avatar
        fred schumacher

        Re: small cars as death traps

        The U.S. has a 50% higher death rate per passenger mile than Europe, yet in Europe they drive small cars like this one. The state of automotive safety engineering has made huge leaps in the past decade. Look at this Fifth Gear head-on crash between a Renault Modus and a Volvo station wagon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBDyeWofcLY

        The most common cause of death is a single vehicle running off the road. Heavy, high center of gravity vehicles are the ones most susceptible to this kind of accident. Auto insurance actuarial data has shown that the safest vehicles are minivans and luxury sedans.

        As regards children, the most important safety factor is having a weight-appropriate car safety seat, which is correctly anchored and adjusted and used every single time the child is in the car, no exceptions, period.

  • avatar
    tkel

    As the brief owner of a Fiat 128, I suggest that “Grande” is too easy to nickname
    “Grenade”. Fiat may want to reconsider that moniker.

  • avatar
    GTAm

    It will not be the Panda. It’s the car internally known as the “ellezero” a kind of mini-mpv that is to replace the Fiat Idea and Lancia Musa in Europe. There is a load of news and some pics of this car on the net.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I must say the Panda looks much better than this Ellezero. That one looks like a Panda with Fiat 500 front end grafted on, which is probably what it is. Looks contrived.

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    I agree that the Panda looks better; however, the L0 (ElleZero) is based on a widened platform called SUSW (small US wide) placing it into the B body sector, whereas the 500 is an A body. This is similar to what Chrysler did with the new Dart, a widened Alfa platform that made possible a C body exterior with D body interior room.

    In 7-seat version, this could be the minivan to replace the short wheelbase Caravan. At 169 inches length, it would be half a foot shorter than my favorite car, a 1993 Caravan with 5-speed. I hope they’ll make it available with manual transmissions in all trim categories and also with the Twinair gas and Multijet diesels. This is the vehicle that should have reintroduced Fiat to America.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    L0, “up to seven passengers.” that I’ve got to see.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      In 25 years of minivan ownership, I’ve carried seven adults perhaps half a dozen times. However, I’ve had seven passengers many times, with most of them being children. Although I’m presently driving a Grand Caravan, I really prefer the short-wheelbase versions: they handle better, especially in winter, and weigh less. Minivans need to go on a diet. They’re no longer mini.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    WHy is this thing do homely? Geeze, I have waited all these years to get some cool Italian cars, and the Koreans seem to have style all sewn up! WTF?

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      Chacun a son gout. I find the Korean cars unattractive: full of swoopy curves and strange angles. My neighbor has a new Kia Optima. It appears to be an excellent car, which gets 38 mpg on the highway and cost $19,000, but I would not call it a beautiful car. Others would disagree. That’s why we have variety.

      When Dodge showed its retro-look pickup at auto shows back in the early 90s, half the people loved it and half virulently hated it. Dodge quintupled its pickup sales with that new design. Only the people who loved it were relevant in the decision to put the new look into production. Design is market driven, but not for the entire market. That’s an impossibility. Design is aimed at particular market niches.

      • 0 avatar
        jerseydevil

        ya i know. I do think that the Kia is an attractive car, tho. The design has more personality than this fiat! THey wanted the 00 to carry interest over to the rest of the line. but the 500 aint doin it.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    If not for Brazil, Fiat would cease to exist. Here’s living proof. That thing is FUGLY! It makes the Fit look downright beautiful.

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    Some more production photos of the ElleZero at the Kragujevac plant are available at http://www.autoedizione.com/2011/12/13/scoop-serbian-pictures-reveal-fiat-project-ellezero/

    As regards Serbia’s Zastava assembly plant, history is not destiny. I don’t think we’ll see a recapitulation of the Yugo fiasco. As a Balkan German-Hungarian, with a mother from Croatia and a father from Serbia, I sincerely hope this effort will be a success. Serbia desperately needs good manufacturing jobs. One of the major causes of the Balkan War of the 90s was that when Slovenia and Croatia split off, Yugoslavia lost two-thirds of its economy. For my family, that resulted in 11 civilian deaths during the Battle of Vukovar and the total destruction of my mother’s village of Bogdanovci. Mutual prosperity is the best way to avoid war.

  • avatar
    86er

    If this is a 500, does it mean it’s a better car than the 200 and 300?

  • avatar
    mjz

    Why don’t they offer BOTH the Panda and the ElleZero here? It’s not like they couldn’t use the extra sales.


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