Fiat Auto has killed plans to introduce a range of traditional off-road vehicles.
Instead, Fiat will develop niche products such as four-wheel-drive cars and crossover models, said Managing Director Roberto Testore in an interview.
Testore said Fiat's compact sport-utility - planned as a spin-off of the Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin - will not be 'built as it was originally conceived, as a vehicle with permanent rear drive and selectable front drive.
'We will move to a concept that's closer to a crossover vehicle,' he said. 'It will be more urban and less off-road.'
Testore said Fiat could launch a Lancia sport-utility with permanent four-wheel drive - but it will not be the Nea concept car seen at September's Paris auto show.
'The Nea is a possible direction, but we have other options,' Testore said.
Despite the positive response to the Ecobasic concept car, Testore said no decision has been made on the styling of Fiat's future small car. And he says he has no intention of stopping production of the 20-year-old Panda.
'The Panda will continue to be built as long as demand remains strong,' he said.
Elsewhere, Fiat Auto's cooperation with General Motors is about enter a critical phase. Testore must decide how and when the two companies can consolidate platforms, while remaining competitors in the marketplace.
Fiat and GM formed a strategic alliance in March.
Testore is one of five high-ranking auto industry executives featured in Automotive News Europe's Talk From The Top interviews, starting on Page 20. For Testore's edited interview, please turn to Page 21. For the full interview, visit www.automotivenewseurope.com.