Fiat brand CEO Olivier Francois says that the Italian automaker’s upcoming Aegea compact hatchback and station wagon for Europe will be “like Ikea, affordable but smart.” Francois explained why to Automotive News Europe Correspondent Jennifer Clark.
Will the forthcoming Fiat Aegea compact line for Europe be inexpensive like the Panda?
It will be functional and not loaded with features that the buyers don’t want to pay for. If you compare it with the Bravo [Fiat’s previous compact model line], it will cover the same market space with two bodies [the hatchback and wagon] and a clarified mission: We will be careful to give you what you expect. Like Ikea, affordable but smart.
Will Europe get the Aegea sedan?
We will not force a C sedan on Western Europe knowing that there is no market for it.
In your presentations in the past, you have said that the Fiat brand in Europe would evolve around two pillars: an emotional range led by the 500 family and a rational range built around the Panda. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the last Geneva auto show that Fiat brand won’t be mainstream anymore in Europe. If that’s the case, how does the Aegea fit into Fiat’s plans for Europe?
When I talk about the Panda, I never meant I would make big Pandas or smaller Pandas. The approach is frugal, well built and practical. My blue jeans pillar. On the other side, you have the red lipstick or red leather pillar represented by the 500.
We presented the Aegea as a sedan for Turkey, but we will have a line of C-segment [compact] cars that will address that frugal, practical and well-built pillar.
Also, the Aegea was already part of the product plan we shared in May 2014. You had the little dots on the C. Those three dots represented the sedan, hatch and station wagon.
And, Fiat brand is not mainstream because the last thing we need is a “fake” Jeep or a super sporty car when I have a brand like Alfa Romeo. What we can do and what we do well is A, B and C [the minicar, subcompact and compact segments]. I want to develop A-, B- and C-segment vehicles along the emotional and functional pillars. I love the idea that we have this chance to speak to both.