BRUSSELS - Fiat Auto expects to sell 900,000-one million Palio world cars a year by 2000, making it the best-selling Fiat ever.
By that time the Palio and its derivatives will be produced in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Poland, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa and India, said Roberto Testore, Fiat Auto president and CEO.
At the Automotive News Europe World Congress, Testore said that the next new location for the world car could be China, at the rate of 150,000 units a year.
'The Chinese passenger car market is expanding very slowly, so there is no hurry to be there,' he said. 'The choice of the proper partner is crucial to success there and we are currently evaluating different possibilities. But definitely Fiat Auto will be making cars in China.'
Testore said the Palio platform, known internally as the 178, is not an end in itself. 'The project will act as a passport,' he said, 'providing Fiat with an entry to new markets where it can export other models in our range, thus offering a full line-up to local customers.
'But being global doesn't mean being everywhere,' Testore added. 'A global company must not be a heavy company.'
He said the main opportunities in the years ahead are in countries with rapidly expanding economies. And Testore said, 'we can be global without being present in the US.
'In the past, North America was the most advanced market in terms of legislation and the one with the widest number of competitors,' he said.
'You had to be there. Now Europe has legislation very similar to the US, sometimes even stricter. We also face all the major competitors here.'
Meanwhile, Testore said that car scrapping incentives like the one now in force in Italy 'are good for everyone.'
'Not only for the carmakers, dealers and car buyers,' he said, 'but also for the environment by reducing the number of non-catalytic cars and by increasing safety with more modern vehicles.'
In addition, Testore said the government gains more in tax revenue than it spends for incentives.