March 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
According to reports coming out of Fiat the first examples of its next-generation Panda city car will roll off the production line in Italy this November. The third generation of the Panda is preparing to make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.
“We are on track in refurbishing Pomigliano, which will become a truly state-of-the-art plant when it begins production in November,” Fiat Group chief manufacturing officer Stefan Ketter said recently.
Originally the new Panda was to be built in the Tychy factory in Poland but last year Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the change. As part of the company’s “Fabbrica Italia” (Italian factory) plan, Panda production was moved to Italy to help boost Fiat productivity from around 650,000 units in 2010 to approximately 1.4 million cars in 2014.
Fiat has invested around €800 million to build the new Panda in Pomigliano. It’s a huge investment for Fiat considering the Italian factory in 2010 only produced around 30,000 units of the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan and sports wagon, plus the final examples of the 147 hatchback and GT sports coupe. Continue reading “Fiat ready to subject motoring world to 2012 Panda” »
November 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Chrysler is hard at work refreshing and reworking its line-up and to go a step further it has announced that it’s working on a small car for the Dodge lineup. This new vehicle is being built with fuel economy clearly in mind and should be capable of achieving a fuel economy well under 6.0l/100km. The mysterious new model will sit on a Fiat-sourced platform and is expected to be revealed sometime near the end of 2011.
Little is known about who the main rivals for this new Dodge will be but apparently a fuel-efficient small Chrysler has been planned for a long time and lead to the creation of the Dodge Hornet concept car (pictured) in 2006. The Hornet was seemingly given the go-ahead for production but never surfaced in finished form. Now may be its time.
Aside from the North American-specified Fiat 500, the new Chrysler/Fiat partnership has yet to produce any real joint vehicles. In the meantime, Chrysler has been reworking its product portfolio, offering new powertrains higher-quality interiors and improved refinement for the full slate of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products.
To read a recent Car and SUV review of the updated Dodge Caliber, click here. Continue reading “Dodge at work on fuel frugal hatchback” »
September 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Earlier this week a Chrysler dealer conference went down over in the States where new or updated products from the American brand were unveiled. It was business as usual until Chrysler Group and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne had a concept of the 2012 Dodge Viper roll on to the stage.
While no photos or specs have been released, Chrysler has confirmed that the next-generation Viper is on its way in two years time, but showing a concept off this early is a clear indication that work is well underway.
There’s still much rumour and speculation over what powertrain will be fitted to the all-new Viper, but early reports indicate that the same 8.4-litre V10 may carry on, possibly with the inclusion of Fiat’s MultiAir technology to reduce emissions and boost output over 700 horses. An entry-level V8 option is also a possibility, and expect to see some input from Ferrari’s engineers on anything from handling to steering and stability control systems. Just one of the perks of partnership with the Fiat Group.
September 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
They’re used to their cars being a bit faster than this but Ferrari F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were stoked when they were each given an Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari to celebrate their domination of the Italian Grand Prix last weekend where they achieved a 1st and 3rd finish.
The new Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari confirms the consolidated links between Fiat, Abarth and Ferrari, which is beginning to see some serious shared projects.
The Abarth Tributo Ferrari is motivated by a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 16v engine, tuned to develop 132 kW and an electrically-operated Abarth competition gearbox with race-inspired paddle gearshifts.
The drivers’ Fiat 500s are finished in Scuderia Red with Racing Grey details and are enhanced with carbon fibre parts like mirror covers and gear quadrant.
A numbered and limited series of these cars went on sale in July and has already notched up more than 600 orders, over half of which are destined for the UK, France and Germany.
Karl Abarth and Enzo Ferrari’s passion and dedication helped create the legend of Italian motor racing that is universally recognised today. The men behind both marques followed very similar careers: they were first drivers, then tuners, and finally heads of companies that command genuine respect in the world of motor racing.
August 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
According to recent rumours being thrown around, Volkswagen is keen on continuing its big buy-up of the entire automotive world. The German manufacturing giant now has Alfa Romeo clearly in the cross hairs, even though parent-company Fiat has no intention of parting with the iconic Italian brand.
Adding Alfa to the lineup would potentially bring Volkswagen’s carmaking portfolio to nine brands, including VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Porsche (as well as Karmann, Italdesign, VW LCV, a 20% chunk of Suzuki and the rights to NSU).
While the two companies appear to be currently at odds, Fiat has said that it wants Alfa Romeo to become a world-class luxury manufacturer. To achieve this Alfa will need to sell upwards of 500,000 units per year by 2014 — almost five times what the company managed to move in 2009. Fiat’s long term plan is to retain Alfa Romeo and turn it into an Italian Audi killer, helping reach Marchionne’s goal of 500,000 units a year.
So why exactly does VW want Alfa Romeo so bad? Because getting the brand would be an easy way to help the carmaker in its quest to become the world’s number one automaker. Also getting rights to the Alfa Romeo stable would give VW access to a wealth of new technology and front-engine, front-wheel-drive chassis options as well.
July 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
A graphical close up of Fiat’s new 900cc turbocharged 2-cylinder engine
July 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Fiat has revealed its latest limited edition version of the 500 city car, which will go on sale across Europe this September. Named the 500 Blackjack, the special mini car is finished in a matte black finish with some glossy black details such as the door handles, exterior mirrors, fog lamp surrounds and bumper trims. Packing the guards are 16-inch black alloy wheels with a red frame in the centre, while high-spec variants also get red brake calipers.
The interior also receives special upgrades with the seats upholstered in red leather or in black leather and fabric, special trim and silver accents are also present on the leather steering wheel and gear knob.
The 500 Blackjack can be powered by all the engines in the range including the new TwinAir 85HP 900cc two-cylinder turbo petrol.
February 24th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
German tuners Hamann-Motorsport have just released a range of potent performance upgrades for the retro-rocket Fiat Abarth 500. Presented in stages the upgrades at their strongest can boost power to a maximum of 202 kW and up to 380 Nm of torque.
It’s an impressive tuning feat when you consider that the stock Abarth 500 gets 99 kW from its 1.4-litre engine.
The mods from Hamann come in five different levels with the focus largely on the engine computer, turbo charger, air filter, and exhaust system. The powertrain also gets treatment with new connecting rods, forged pistons, air cooler, racing clutch, modified gearbox, and a new flywheel. Larger brake discs with four-piston callipers are used and sit behind either matte or glossy black 18-inch rims. A self-locking diff can also be fitted as an option.
In terms of looks, Hamann is also adding increasing aerodynamics with a replacement front skirt with LED daytime lighting. Flared guards widen the front of the car by 30mm, and the rear by 35mm. New side skirting also features.
Check out images of the Hamann-Motorsport upgraded Abarth 500 in the gallery below.