Fiat plans to manufacture five new models in the following two years, part of its plan to return to profitability in Europe, Africa and Middle East.
Alfredo Altavilla, the group’s head of the EMEA region, said that the new models will include one new version of its Panda model and four models of the 500 family.
“We are redesigning the DNA of the Fiat brand with a clear strategic objective to position it in the premium segment of the market,” Altavilla told the daily Corriere della Serra. “To do this, we are focusing on two of our car families which have had the greatest success: the 500 and the Panda.”
Altavilla added that this move is part of Fiat’s plan to return to profitability in Europe, Middle East and Africa by 2015. He offered no information regarding the plant where the models are to be produced, but said that the new Panda will feature more off-road characteristics, which will make it a tough competitor to the large SUVs.
The recovery process of the auto market in Europe will be a long and slow one, as unemployment is still at record high levels. Automakers in the region warned that the industry still needs to cut more jobs and close more plants to stem losses and ease price pressure.