PRODUCT EYE: Grand Siena answers Fiat Brazil challengers
Sedans are more popular than hatchbacks in Brazil
It is not just by chance that Fiat manages to sustain market leadership in automobiles and light commercials amidst fierce competition here in Brazil.
In Brazil, the Italian automaker relies on the strength of its Strada pick-up to top the market overall though this might not be enough in the future.
At the Grande Siena launch the biggest challenge to the new Fiat seemed to be forthcoming Brazilian production of the new compact-medium Dodge Dart due on sale in the US by mid-year.
Fiat is currently building a new manufacturing plant in Goiana, state of Pernambuco, but the first product will not be a subcompact to replace the ancient 1980s Uno-based Mille. Insiders told just-auto the Italians instead chose a small sport utility to compete with the Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster and coming rivals.
Fiat's version of the Dart, the Viaggio, will probably be made in Brazil starting late in 2014. It will probably be much the same as the version to be produced in China, scheduled for unveiling at the Beijing show next month.
One of the Grand Siena’s merits is it is different enough from the first generation three-box Palio version introduced in 1997. The platform is based on the new Palio but with changes to exterior dimensions, tracks and the rear torsion beam axle has some Punto elements.
Prices range from R$38,710 (US$21,270) to R$52,137 (US$28,650), the latter including automated-manual transmission. No doubt it will negatively affect Linea sales, which had always been far from successful due to poor market positioning.
The new Fiat is a stretched compact saloon in the style of the Cobalt, Versa and, to some extent, Logan, the latter betting more heavily on price.
The latest version gained approximately 5.5 inches both in wheelbase and overall length and now has a third side window plus more rear seat legroom but is still inferior to the local Chevrolet Cobalt in this area.
The design follows the current trend towards side edges aligned to door handles. The front grille is not inspired (including by the exaggerated chrome trim on the top Essence ) but the spoiler is nice. The already good 17.65 cu ft boot was boosted to 18.35 cu ft.
Other Grand Siena highlights are improved driveability, better handling and improved 'robotised' gearbox.
Among the weaknesses, driver seat height adjustment and cruise control are both available for the top version only and the mirror adjustment control is poorly located.
And it's missing currently trendy turn indicator repeaters in the door mirrors.
An updated list of world premiere concepts and production models which appeared at the Paris motor show's 27 & 28 September press preview days....
The Volkswagen Group remains on the right track in spite of tough economic conditions, chairman Martin Winterkorn told around 20,000 workers at the automaker's main Wolfsburg plant in Germany....
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Minding the shop
- Q&A: Volvo XC90 chief engineer Håkan Ivarsson
- COMMENT: No wizards needed at US$100 a barrel
- VEHICLE ANALYSIS: WRX & Subaru's SGP architecture
- ANALYSIS: Thailand targets EVs for future growth
- JLR in talks for Eastern Europe plant
- Magna Steyr to build vehicles for JLR
- New Honda chief sets out vision
- Ford’s ‘significantly enhanced’ EcoSport on sale
- SUVs continue driving US sales growth
- Global light vehicle safety systems market- forecasts to 2029
- Magna International Inc. (MG) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review
- Global light vehicle instrumentation and cockpits market- forecasts to 2029
- PLDB - vehicle cycle plan database (annual subscription)
- Global In-vehicle Entertainment and Information Systems Market 2015-2019