Fiat has produced a new small city car, known as Project 169, to spearhead the company’s revival. Could it be built in SA?
Fiat has produced a new small city car, known as Project 169, to spearhead the company’s revival. Could it be built in South Africa?
It is seen as the replacement for both the Seicento and Panda. According to the new car will be sold globally, and will be offered at first in five-door form only, though three-door, sporty hot hatch, 4×4 and even mini-MPV versions will follow.
Fiat has gone back to basics with the 169, building upon its heritage of making roomy, practical and economical small cars such as the Topolino, original Cinquecento and 127. Project 169 incorporates many of the features of Fiat’s larger family cars, such as a Multipla-style dash-mounted gearchange, as well as a flat rear tailgate and high roof for optimum interior space. It has Duodrive power steering, with additional assistance for parking and tight manoeuvres, and could also feature a keyless entry system.
The 196 will have Fiat’s new four-cylinder, 1,3-litre 16-valve Multijet diesel engine. This common-rail unit, with four valves and a fuel injector per cylinder, develops 52 kW at 4000 r/min and 180 N.m of torque. It is small, light (just 150 kg), clean and economical, and Fiat claims it will be more durable than any diesel engine it has so far produced. Apparently, it will need no mechanical service items replacing for 250 000 km, and lubricant change intervals will be 30 000 km.
CARtoday.com reported yesterday that Fiat Auto SA was in talks with its Italian parent company to secure the rights to produce at least one model for the export market.
We asked Fiat Auto SA marketing director Greg Levine whether Project 169, which has been conceptualised as a car for most markets where Fiat products are offered, could be the kind of vehicle the local subsidiary would build for export.
“Not at this juncture,” Levine told CARtoday.com on Tuesday. “Fiat Auto SA’s plans to build cars for export represent a long term project and will feature synergies of the current Project 178 cars”.
Project 178, consisting of cars such as the locally-built Siena, Palio and Siena Weekend, was Fiat’s first initiative for a world car, the range having sold more than two million units so far in 40 countries, with manufacturing in nine countries.