By on February 26, 2015


Bad reputations are earned in short order and shed only after many years of good behavior. For car companies, such bad raps come relatively quickly and sometimes decades are needed to overcome them. For Fiat, the cute sobriquet Fix-It-Again-Tony seems to be unavoidable no matter how they actually compare in most reliability studies. The fact is they routinely do better than most European rivals and still have to improve to reach Toyota-like reliability. So, the strive for credibility must go on.

Once in a while, however, positive proof of how they are gaining ground on even the best in the business (in terms of reliability) shows up. Recently, I had a chance to experiment one such example in the form of a Brazilian-built 2008 Fiat Stilo.

Carnaval in Brazil is a time to dress down, booze up and meet old friends. Being that it lasts from Saturday to Wednesday, it is also a chance to see long-time-no-see friends who for various reasons live away from our hometown. Being that for whatever reason so many of them were in town this recently passed holiday, I used the occasion to throw a barbecue reuniting expat and local friends once more.

Once the party got started and everyone was enjoying the sun, beer and meat, out of curiosity I took a walk outside to survey my friends’ cars. Of the 16 cars parked on the street near my house, I could identify that some trends are indeed universal. CUVs were there in great numbers (two Honda CR-Vs, a Fiat Freemont, also known as a Dodge Journey), though the American preference for pickups is not as a strong. A double cab global Ford Ranger was the only representative of the SUV-pickup genre. Sedans are big among my friends who own a range of them (Renault Logan, Fiat Grand Siena, Corolla, Civic, Cruze). In this category I saw the only Volkswagen present (perhaps indicative of VW’s woes in Brazil), a Jetta. Hatchbacks were plentiful, too, from a diminutive Fiat 500, to the bigger Renault Sandero and Ford Focus. As this was a group of people with families, a minivan and a minivan-like vehicle (Chevrolet Spin and a Fiat Doblò) were also there.


Among this motley crew, a Fiat Stilo stood out. Easily the oldest car in that group, I knew whose it was as I had seen it a number of times over the years at similar get togethers and I was curious as to why he still had it. When the opportunity came up, I talked cars with the owner and he gave me a run down of what had happened to the car over its slightly less than 190,000 km in seven years, namely: Nothing.

And that is why he still had it. He enjoys the style of the car and whenever he considered the financial outlay necessary for a new car, his memory of the car’s record would not let him do it. He takes the car to his mechanic every 10,000 km as Fiat prescribes, the mechanic does preventive maintenance and on it goes. I pushed and shoved, but he couldn’t remember a single corrective measure. Change fluids as the manual suggests, brake pads, new tires and shocks, a few bulbs and it’s on its the third battery. How about the suspension and steering? Brazilian roads and streets are infamous for their moon-like quality and cars routinely change parts that last a life-time in other countries. He insists, nothing has needed changing.

Maybe my incredulous face made him do it, but eventually he asked me if I wanted to drive his car. I happily accepted and we agreed that the next day we’d meet to finish off whatever food and drink was leftover from the barbecue, after our test drive of course.


The next day when we I approached the car I took a closer look and immediately saw some problems. Though the paint still shined and the car had very few scuffs and bruises from the daily grind, some problems were evident. In the red Fiat logos on the hood and wheels some watermarks were quite evident. On the back door sills a very common defect on almost all Stilos was also present. On that sill, near the wheelwell, a yellowish triangle was visible. I passed a finger over it and it seems that for some reason Fiat applied a plastic film over that part. Over time, they (almost) all get yellow and ugly. Finally, the plastic lenses of the headlights showed some wear and were looking somewhat dim. On the other hand, the Stilo always offered dual high intensity lamps with very good results.


Fearing that similar issues would be present inside, I was pleasantly surprised as to how good everything still looked and felt. Nothing was broken or in the process of coming apart, the leather still felt supple. The headliner was not unduly stained and there were no strange odors. Taking it all in, the Stilo was still a good place to pass the time. The seats are large and supportive though not aggressively so, the driver’s seat, steering wheel and pedals align perfectly. As such, it is easy to find a good position to drive. It is quite a square car, so head and shoulder room are very good as is hip room. The wheel base is long enough that two 6 foot adults can sit comfortably in the back, even if driver and front passenger are of the same height.


One of the Stilo strong suits was features and content. Though this car had none, optionally up to eight airbags could be had. Connectivity (via Bluetooth) was offered. It was the first Brazilian car to come with electric steering and had the “City” feature. At the touch of this button, the steering would become even lighter for slow speed maneuvers being that this was a car one could (almost) literally park with one finger. As my friend showed off all the features, I duly noted that all still worked, with no undue delays, so if this car is an indication, fear of “Italian” electronics were allayed. As always, I felt the biggest let down in the interior were the gauges and the passage of time had not done them any favors. The now so passé white backdrop with very cheap looking plastic red needles and grey knobs look even worse now though back when the car was launched (2003), most thought it was cool.


Out on the road, accelerating and cruising, the engine felt very strong. Though European Stilos used diesel and gasoline engines, from 1.2 up to 2.4 20v, the Brazilian Stilo was different. Born during the ill fated (for GM) General Motors-Fiat hookup, in Brazil Fiat made use of GM powerplants for low and mid trim Stilos, reserving its very Italian 2.4 only for top-of-the-line Stilo Abarths. This 2008 was the base model. As such it used a GM 1.8 8v Family I engine bumped up to 114 hp on ethanol, slightly less for gasoline. Though this re-touched engine has the ability to rev higher than the originally 103 hp 1.8 while still delivering gobs of torque down low, it still is a GM engine. Over the years I have heard many a Fiat fan complaining of this engine and how it took away from the Stilo its “Italian-ness”. However, the engine and 5 speed manual transmission are well-mated. The car is nice to drive and offers a degree of fun for a car with family transportation in mind (the 2.4 is another beast, of course). At the time this car was launched magazine tests showed the car touching 190 km/h as its top speed, while the 0-100 km/h dash was over in around 10 seconds. Though that day we didn’t reach those limits, a few high speed bursts showed the engine was still capable of going fast. My friend vouched for it and said he didn’t feel much of a difference from day one. It was still relatively quiet too, without any undue vibrations showing motor mounts and bushings were still in good order.

When we hit some curvy sections, I was reminded once again why I liked this car back in the day. It uses 16 inch wheels, 215 wide tires and it has very good grip with little tendency of breaking loose at the back. This 2008 Stilo still held these same characteristics and though it rolls more than a VW Golf, the benefit of that is that it is just a very comfortable car in the city or highway. The stick is expertly placed, falling naturally to hand. Though not as precise as a traditional Volkswagen box, gears are easy to find. Though seven years old and with all those kilometers under its belt, the clutch felt light and there were no rumors or grinding in the gearbox, suggesting it was healthy.

Heading back home to “enterar os ossos da festa” (bury the party’s bones, a Brazilian expression meaning to finish of the previous day’s party’s leftovers), my friend and I talked about the car’s history. A sales failure in Europe, in Brazil it was successful. It had strong initial sales here, though in the middle of its career, as competition grew (and the falling back wheel scandal ensued) that tapered off. Towards the end, it became a hot seller again based on price and street cred. Around 2005, some consumers started complaining that the back wheel would fall off for no good reason. The Brazilian Ministry of Justice even fined Fiat for failing to make a recall to fix the issue. Over 30 accidents were reported due to the problem and around eight deaths. Fiat defended itself by maintaining the wheel fell off after the accident and not as the cause of the accident.


Regardless of the cause, that issue went away and in Europe and Brazil the Stilo has a reputation as a sturdy car. Developed under the guidance of German national Herbert Demel (who had previously even been president of VW do Brasil), put at the helm of Fiat Auto specifically to make Fiat more Teutonic, it was a solid looking car that probably looked more German than Italian in an attempt to widen Fiat’s fading appeal at the time. That proved unsuccessful and in 2006, only 36 hours after the announcement of the GM-Fiat break up, Fiat Group president Sergio Marchionne fired Demel and took over Fiat Auto. Under the Canadian’s guidance, a more Italian flavor was again added to the Fiat line, and prettier cars like the Grand Punto and new Bravo were soon launched, not to mention the 500.

Maybe the Stilo was indeed too German. Maybe its difficult to renege your history and copy others’. Maybe credibility (and attendant sales) is not to be found on such a road. But the Stilo was a car on which Fiat continued improving its reliability and eventually passed Volkswagen and the French in European reliability ratings. Surely, some of the Stilo’s sturdiness is still felt in current Fiat products. Perhaps, 20 more years of reliable, Stilo-like cars will erase all memories of a certain Tony.

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52 Comments on “Dispatches Do Brasil: A 2008 Fiat Stilo Flex and the Search for Credibility...”

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    It looks like the vehicle photographed has been shod with 205/55-16s at this time; still, it’s good to see taller/cushier sidewall heights haven’t gone out of style outside the USA.

  • avatar

    Muito obrigado, Marcelo. I really enjoyed this review.

  • avatar
    shadow mozes

    Brazil has such nice cars in their market.

  • avatar

    Not a bad looking car at all, and the back has some VW about it to my eyes. Those plastic triangles at the rear door area were a common thing on cars in the 90s here in the US, it seems. I had an Audi with a similar feature (larger plastic though), never knew why they were necessary. Mine had not yellowed to that extent, only slightly. But the car was pearl white, so not as noticeable.

    Audi stopped doing them between about 95 and 00.

    The interior looks very dated indeed, in a cheap late 90s “Euro modern” way, like an early 00s Focus. Or a Ford Puma (That’s a Mercury Cougar to we Americans).

    On a style note, I think this car’s look would have improved dramatically had they taken the chromed door strip across BOTH doors, rather than start-stop-start again. It draws too much attention to the door strip, and makes the car look stumpy from the sides.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Corey! I agree. The back is VW in that it is so upright. But the original front grill was even more reminiscent of VW with horizontal lines. The one in this model had been played with. But the Golf was the target, even the placement of the antenna. Up until the Stilo, Fiats “always” put the antenna near the windshield. Some even see those broad shoulders as Volvo-esque so definitely a Northern European aesthetic.

      As such it’s a very sober design that has aged well. To critics however, and more critical to the car in Europe than here, the design lacked “emotion”. To use that terminology, it is handsome in a masculine way, while Italian cars traditionally have used more sensual, feminine designs. Or maybe it’s just a square car, ha!

      As to the interior agreed. This was a late model in its run (that ended here in 2010, in Europe 2007 I believe) and as such had been cheapened to compete more in price. Earlier models and higher trims, though using the same basic design, used better materials.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s funny how the Europeans as you mentioned say they want “emotion” in design – yet look at their German or Swedish cars for the most part. Very serious! I guess they’re expecting this Fiat to have lots of joi de vivre because it’s Italian?

        Personally, I have no desire for emotional design. I like seriousness and solidity. Squared off angles, a heavy shoulder line, and a nice wide track for presence and solidity. That’s the personality/emotion I want displayed.

        Some examples, for fun!

        • 0 avatar

          You might have included an American example or two, but you would have to go back decades to the Chevy II/Nova in their first two generations, 1962-1967. There’s nothing more squared off than a 3-box, with a straight six. Unlike the Euro models, the Chevy II could be had with a 327 V8. Of course, the economy model gave a typically American 18 MPG.

          • 0 avatar

            I was more thinking of “modern” cars which might be considered DD vehicles, with safety features and etc.

            Otherwise I’d throw the original Toronado in there, along with the four door Thunderbird.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Lorenzo, I think American car design is great and has always been influential and is living in a good time. American sedans have always looked pretty nice for example. It only goes weird when the pickups start looking like trains or toys or some of the baroque 70s touches like opera windows, roofs with fabric or very upright and fake RR grilles.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Corey, I do like most of the cars you linked, but I don’t really shy away from more emotional design either, especially if it is playful and or quirky. Both, when done well, really last.

            What I don’t like are cars that look like Japanese comics characters, bugs, fish or aliens. In other words, cars that are overly aggressive. I also have a hard time with excessive flame surfacing.

    • 0 avatar

      “Or a Ford Puma (That’s a Mercury Cougar to we Americans).”

      Not to split hairs; but while they look similiar; neither is related to the other.

      The Mercury Cougar is based on Mazada underpinnings; it was originally going to be the next generation Ford Probe. The Puma is based on the European Fiesta.

      • 0 avatar

        And what a difference it makes, so no, you are not splitting hairs.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh you’re absolutely right. I’ll tell you what happened! Years ago, I watched this video.

        And they raved about the car so much, at the time I thought “Wow, I’ve never heard anything good about those Cougars here.” And then I didn’t think about it any more.

        You may need to mute it, as Quentin Wilson speaks and his voice grates on the nerves of many humans. Including me.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually you are both incorrect. The Cougar was based on the Mondeo, Contour, Mystique platform unlike the Probe which was Mazda based. The Cougar was sold elsewhere as the Ford Cougar. As in real life the Puma is an entirely different animal.

        • 0 avatar

          The eighth and final generation of the Mercury Cougar was Ford CDW27 “world” platform. The previous generations were MN-12 and Fox, respectively.

          “In 1998, Ford began a redesign on the recently discontinued Probe, planning to add it back to the lineup in 1999. Due to marketing reasons, Ford decided to drop the Probe name and bring back the Cougar name for the redesigned car. Of the three names that had constituted Ford’s personal luxury lineup, Mark, Thunderbird, and Cougar, the Cougar returned first and was based on the Ford Contour sedan.”

  • avatar

    I had this car from 2002ish until 2009 or so, but in Europe with a Fiat Multijet Diesel engine. What you describe is exactly what I experienced in my ownership: no one trusted the car to be good while it really, really was. No mechanical problem whatsoever, one minor electrical problem after I ripped of a cable under the back seat once (the airbag-light came on) – absolutely nothing else.

    However, peoples’ reaction was: that can’t possibly be, it’s a Fiat. The interior must be awful (it wasn’t), the suspension unsettling (no, its springs just happened to really do something other than being too stiff), it must rattle (no), rust (no), etc., etc. Looking back, I really felt kind of sad for the company: they made a very good product no one bought because they felt like just knowing it better…

    One afterthought: I think the earlier versions are more cleanly styled than the late Brazilian ones. The shape of the front bumper is simpler, there is no chromestrip on the side and both pre- and post-facelift rearends and rear-lights for the five-door are cleaner than the example shown here. This one seems to adapt the lights from the three-door, which had a different bodyshell.

    European five-door front:×600/wallpaper_05.htm

    European five-door rear, before facelift:*img*Fiat*Fiat-Stilo-Image-0030-1680.jpg

    European five-door rear, post facelift:×600/wallpaper_14.htm

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, the bane of Fiat over the last decades. Guess you have to chip away at it one car at a time. Let’s see what the next 2 years bring to Fiat. With its Chrysler purchase and continued strength in some markets Fiat has a window of opportunity.

      As to design, the Brazilian Stilo was exactly like the first European Stilo, but did not follow the European redisgns. When they finally redesigned it here they changed just the grill and bumpers but even the shape of the lights remained untouched.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting write-up, Marcelo! I’m a long time Fiat aficionado dating back to my first new car purchase, a ’74 X1/9, thru 3 more Xs since a re-kindled interest in 2000, to my 2012 Abarth. I have nothing but good experiences and memories generated by these cars. Fiats forever!

  • avatar

    According to JD Power, Fiat still makes far-and-away the least dependable cars on the US market. Only the Land Rover comes close for problems, and Land Rovers are both far more complex and legendary in their crappiness. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and one car with 118,000 miles doesn’t refute a track record for bad cars still being laid today.

    • 0 avatar

      But you only get two Fiats in the US, and one of them (the 500) isn’t the same as the one we get in Europe.

      This british engine reliability survey put Fiat ahead of Ford and Nissan, for example.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t rate Fords, Nissans or German cars as being quality products either, but point taken about our Fiats being built in different factories to different specifications. They’re still writing the F.I.A.T legend here, which was probably fading more quickly when Fiats weren’t available. Familiarity breeds contempt, in the case of Fiat.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Mike. Most European reliability indexes but Fiat ahead of VW, close to Ford, Nissan and GM Europe and a stretch ahead of the French and many smaller makes. In the ones I have seen from last year they seem consistently better than average and closer to the Top 10 than the bottom positions. US rankings are always weird in that. I don’t know what it is, but maybe unfamiliarity with the product is a factor.

        • 0 avatar

          We had all these mass-market European cars for decades before the Japanese came in and wiped the floor with them.

          • 0 avatar

            That was like 40 years ago CJ. And sort of the undertext of the article. Things change.

          • 0 avatar

            They haven’t changed for Fiat in the US, where they are currently the brand with the worst JD Power dependability score. Saying that they stunk 40 years ago doesn’t change that they are still terrible compared to the Japanese today. OTOH, at the rate they’re going they could bring the rest of the Fiatsler brands down to the level of the ones with the red badges.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            The JD Power thing is, by their own admission, dominated by bluetooth and other smartphone pairing issues. Using words like “terrible” is overly dramatic. Ironically, it’s the same level of “overly dramatic” as a teenager who’s just been told to stop using their smartphone.

            Two things going on here: One, the people who buy Fiats own smartphones and expect them to work. Compare with Lexus driver who look like they still have rotary phones. Two, Fiat uses an old Microsoft bluetooth system with very limited functionality.

            Fiat-Chrysler-Plymouth should definitely fix their bluetooth issues, no argument there. That doesn’t make their cars junk. It just means you can’t access your address book while driving, and you can’t play music from your phone wirelessly. If you can remember back 40 years, then I’ll bet the bluetooth thing wouldn’t bother you one bit.

          • 0 avatar

            @heavy handle

            Exactly. And I agree, but like I said, the next ones will surely have the Chrysler systems so that will fix that.

            And CJ is dramatic, extreme, always. It’s how he rolls.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s hardly one car CJ. Lots and lots of examples. In my region, there are many Fiat taxis which in our cramped cities live a pretty hard life. Have seen many with upwards of 300 thousand km still going strong. A brother in law had one in his company and used it like a van and gave it almost zero maintenance, but it was over 400 thousand km when he sold it. Engine was still strong. Plus, many of my own personal cars have been Fiat with little problems. I won’t deny Toyota and Honda have better indexes, but I doubt it is much behind the others.

      As to US ratings, please refer to my answer to Mike. There is something weird in that. The cars are a bit different in some of the commands and how many people will go running crying defect because they won’t bother to learn or read the manual I suspect is rather high. An excuse? Don’t really think so and the Japanese did succeed in the US making their cars idiot proof so I guess Fiat will have to follow suit if it wants to grow in the US. In Brazilian Fiats with are beta testing the merger of Chrysler systems with Fiats and UConnect is now available in most of their line. Something similar will happen in the US and this kind of thing will diminish.

      And remember, the engine or transmission are not sluggish and they are not defective. Step on it. It is how an Italian car is made to be driven. It won’t break.

      • 0 avatar

        Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep, while not being as atrocious as Fiat, are all well below average in dependability. This is a case of the frail propping up the dead. Read a review of the 500L. It isn’t getting marked down because of unfamiliarity. It is getting marked down for bad materials, worse assembly, and clumsy design.

        Calling the process of building high quality, brilliantly engineered cars idiot-proofing doesn’t make me want to take your car-buying advice.

        • 0 avatar

          And I’m not trying to give you any advice because I know you won’t even listen. Idiot proofing in the sense of easy operation. And even more in the sense of familiarity. And don’t worry, that kind of thing is universal. I can still remember when they came here the knocks on them for some of the commands. I always found that you get used to them and some of them make more sense than the “standard”, but eventually they adopted the standards.

          As to the 500L it has been spotted in Brazil but Fiat denies it’ll make it. I sure hope they do because I find the design original and interesting and it has a good size that would serve me well. I’ve read many reviews on the car, CJ. ANd most seem to like the drive (even Jack Baruth here on TTAC) and that is what is most important. From what I can see the materials are not really that bad. While if the assembly is so bad, they’d have to improve that.

    • 0 avatar

      A little research into JD Power stats shows issues with some Blue and Me (Fiat’s Bluetooth app) and squeaky driver seats in some cars. I’ve had zero issues in my nearly 3 year old Abarth, 26k miles later. No recalls to speak of, which is an indication of lack of endemic problems.

  • avatar

    great article, Marcelo. I like the Stilo a lot – and a lot more than today’s Bravo. maybe someday I’ll get a Stilo Schumacher in yellow with that scorpion-clad wheels and drop a 5-cylinder Italian beast in the engine bay.

    looking back to when this car was released, I remember two things: one, the Demel intention of making a “Italian Golf”. a VW-fanboi buddy of mine laughed a lot about it and I was like “OMG they’re charging Mercedes-Benz money for a fully-loaded Abarth!!!”. Fiat asked R$ 80k for a base Stilo Abarth and R$ 45k for ticking all the boxes, and even an auto gearbox wasn’t available then!

    second thing, the massive Sky Window moonroof. a great touch, and a costly one. a former brother-in-law had a Stilo with it and I was impressed.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Palandi! In the end I agree. In retrospect it does seem better than the current Bravo, but I always remember the previous Bravo and Tipo. In a way, for those accustomed to Italian cars, the Stilo is a bit of an odd duckling.

      The Scumaker looked great didn’t it? Oh my God, those wheels! It did look better than the Abarths but they these were the real thing though oddly more discreet.

      Gladly the Sky Window spawned imitators and is still present, though unfortunately still costs a fortune. In many ways it was a hallmark of the car and the Stilo will always be remembered for it in our market.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    An Italian car designed by a German with a GM engine and Ford Visteon gauges. Truly a global vehicle.

    Great review, and I need to move to a country where burying the party’s bones won’t result in a visit from the Constabulary.

  • avatar

    I believe the triangles you speak of are stone guards. I had a 2000 Toyota Echo and a 2012 Toyota Prius both with similar vinyl triangles in similar areas – to protect that area from potential stones flying out from the front wheels.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Hey Marcelo,
    As usual another good and interesting story.

    I have found it surprising at times when a friend offers you a ride home or somewhere in their “older” vehicles that’s been around.

    Some cars just seem to purr just like new with that hint of old.

    Some people really do take good car of their vehicles and it shows and probably saves them money in the long run.
    I would love to have a 5 day party! I wouldn’t care too much about cars, though.

    Did you end up in Rio? An check out the Samba dancers;) I’ll go to Brasil one day and to Rio for the Carnival.

    I’ve only done one Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday. That was in San Diego in what’s called the Gaslamp District, great place.

    I bought a sh!tload of bead necklaces and you hand out necklaces to the girls and they rip their t!ts out. If I remember you got 3 sets for a dollar. I spent only $15 on necklaces.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Big Al!

      THanks for reading!

      As to the cars, well I’m just like that, I’m always interested, whatever car it may be.

      As to Carnaval, staid home. Had that barbecue and then there was another at another friends house. Except for a mild headache in the morning after, none worse for the wear, ;) I do have that little boy in my avatar to look after!

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Nice car – I never knew they used GM engines in the South American Stilo. In the UK, the Stilo Abarth with the 2.4 five cylinder engine earned a reputation as a sleeper hot hatchback.

  • avatar

    Marcelo, nice review! I drive a Stilo since 2012. A three door 1.2 16v six speed manual and I still love it. It’s not very fast off course, but very economical and still fun to drive. I liked the car’s design right from the day it was introduced. However, I think the 5 door and especially the Multiwagon, though more practical, are less handsome than the three door hatch I have.
    So far it has proven to be quite a reliable car, especially when compared to my previous car, a 1993 VW Golf III. And yes, my car has the Sky Window moonroof, and it is amazing! It’s a pity that Fiat replaced it by a more conventional two-panel moonroof in the Bravo.
    As far as the Stilo having a reputation as being sturdy, I’m not sure. At least in The Netherlands, people still see it as an Italian car and thus prefer a Astra of Golf when it comes to reliability. However, I do agree that it is a more solid car than it’s French rivals of that time (307, Megane).

    PS: in Europe the Stilo was also available with a GM-engine. In 2006 Fiat replaced its 1.6 103 PS with a 1.6 Ecotec with 105 PS.
    For a few pictures of my Stilo:

  • avatar

    BTW, here’s an interesting article from Automotive News Europe:
    The Stilo lost Fiat approximately 2.1 billion euros. That’s 2729 per car… However, the Bravo and Delta are also related to the Stilo, so maybe the actual numbers are lower.

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