FCA Earmarks $1.1 Billion for Alfa Crossover, Hybrid Panda

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
fca earmarks 1 1 billion for alfa crossover hybrid panda

Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a €5 billion plan to set the table for more palatable electric vehicles — including hybrids — and boost capacity utilization at its Italian facilities. Roughly one fifth of that total will go toward the launch of a compact crossover from Alfa Romeo and Fiat’s upcoming Panda hybrid.

Numerous Italian trade unions (AQCF, FIM, FISMIC, UGLM, and UILM), after speaking with the manufacturer, have confirmed the Pomigliano plant will undergo some retooling in preparation for the new models. Meanwhile, FCA confirmed the cost to Reutersstipulating that the total investment for the two models would be “closer to 1 billion than 500 million euros.”

That’s about $1.1 billion USD on top of the nearly $800 million the company already set aside for the new Fiat 500 electric slated for assembly at the company’s Mirafiori facility. FCA has previously been seen as a laggard in terms of electrification, but these investments should help change that perception in Europe. However, that new image might not carry over into the United States.

Chances of the next Fiat 500 making it to our shores aren’t great, as the current model is both extremely unpopular and doomed. FCA went from posting 43,772 U.S. deliveries in 2012 to just 5,370 in 2018. Fiat also recently confirmed that the model will vacate the American market at the end of this year, with no word on whether it will be replaced.

Meanwhile, the Panda is almost guaranteed to stay in Europe. It’s not a model the U.S. has any special affinity for and the design doesn’t really suit American tastes. While there could be room for a Centoventi-inspired city vehicle in select markets, Americans are more likely to see hybrid versions of the Jeep Compass and Renegade. The latter models are presumed to go on sale early in 2020.

Despite Alfa Romeo having an extremely weak grasp on the U.S. market, it’s technically outselling Fiat as of last year. That bodes well for its upcoming compact crossover. Based on the Tonale concept that debuted in March, the model will be significantly smaller than the Stelvio while retaining some of its premium inclusions and general style. It’s the most likely candidate for export by far.

While FCA has confirmed that a small premium SUV will be manufactured alongside the Panda hybrid, it did not explicitly say the model would be the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Regardless, production of the new Panda is expected to commence early next year at Pomigliano. The Tonale should follow up at the start of 2021.

[Image: FCA]

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  • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 04, 2019

    Italian brands are doomed to leave our market again, aren't they.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 04, 2019

    Dear Fiat: It'll be hard to recoup that $1.1 billion investment if you discount every vehicle 35% off MSRP, like the stuff languishing in your US showrooms today.

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