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Bravo beefs up Fiat

Date: 19 July 2006

Fiat will follow its supermini's corporate sales success of the Grande Punto with a new family hatchback successor to the Stilo.

Badged Bravo and due to be launched in the first quarter of next year, production targets for the three- and five-door car will would be around 30% of the Stilo.

Commenting on the Bravo, Luca De Meo, Fiat Auto's senior commercial and brand vice president, said the car would be about "Italian style, value for money and improved quality. It will be free of gadgets. The Stilo came with lots of them but

Fiat customers are just not interested".

According to De Meo, the Bravo will be part of a carefully managed recovery on the fleet front, including daily rental.

"We are looking at running costs and RVs in terms of the fleet markets. We need to regain credibility in the small family car market for the first time in 30 years," he said. De Meo admitted Fiat had endured "cold turkey" by abandoning the rental sector, but argued: "We needed to do something drastic, to fix and clean the house."

Meanwhile, Fiat UK's brand manager Roland Ellison predicted the fleet factor for the Grande Punto, which has sold a total of 14,100 units between its February 11 launch and the end of June, would rise to 34%, 8% above the previous model.

Ellison said: "Fleet is a massive part of the market and if you don't do it you lose out significantly. Maybe fleets did not want our products; weaker RVs, now rectified, did not help." He pointed to Glass's 3yrs/60,000mls RV rating for Grande Punto at 41%, above VW's Polo (40%), Peugeot's 207 (39%) and Renault's Clio (34%).

Ellison added: "We want a wide spread including a little bit more daily rental as part of a push on fleet channels. There is ground to be made up in diesel volume terms."



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