Fiat intends to re-launch its mid-sized Stilo car when it reviews its line-up in two years but its plans for other models depend on the Italian car maker’s recovery, a top manager told Reuters on Tuesday.
“After 2006 we will renew the Stilo because the car is a little bit old,” Nevio Di Giusto, head of product development at the Fiat-Lancia division, reportedly said on the sidelines of the Automotive News Europe Congress.
Fiat is trying to reverse a sales slump that dragged Italy’s biggest industrial group deep into crisis in 2002, the news agency noted -under a 2003-06 plan, it plans to launch more than 20 new or revamped models to lure back buyers.
When it was unveiled in September 2001, Fiat hailed the Stilo as the car that would take on Volkswagen’s best-selling Golf but sales fell way short of expectations, Reuters said, last year, Fiat sold 180,000 Stilos against a target of 350,000-400,000 and the head of Fiat Auto has said he expects sales to fall further this year.
Under Fiat’s business plan, it should add a new model in the Stilo segment in 2006, adding to the three-door, five-door and station wagon versions of the Stilo already on the roads, the report added.
Fiat has not revealed its product plans for beyond 2006 and Di Giusto told Reuters a lot would depend on 2004 results and the success of its current product launches.
“The important thing is that we are planning life-cycle management for all the products,” he reportedly said. By pumping out new versions of cars, Fiat will have something new to say about its line-up every six months to pique buyers’ interest, he added.
“The challenge is how much money you need to realize a new version or a new car,” he reportedly said.
Reuters noted that Fiat is trying to cut the cost of new cars by developing platforms and buying some parts together with US partner General Motors and has said it is open to alliances with other car makers.