Fiat’s Serbian chief has claimed the new 5/7 seat minivan project is progressing and that the first test ‘mules’ are set to hit the roads before the end of the year, with the vehicle likely to debut in the showrooms next May or June. Known so far as Ellezero (a pun on its market segment, ‘L0’), the new minivan will replace the ageing Fiat Idea and discontinued Multipla with 5- and 7-seat versions respectively. It will also plug the gap that will be left by the demise of Lancia’s Musa.
Fiat Automobili Srbija CEO Antonio Cesare Ferrara stated that the new minivan will be targeted at European markets, as well as at Russia. Set up in 2008, Fiat Automobili Srbija is a joint venture with a part interest held by the Serbian state, but has struggled to kick into life partly as a result of the economic reshuffle enacted three years ago by the global financial crisis.
Curiously, Ferrara only saw the possibility of Ellezero going to the U.S. in the future. This represents a sharp turnaround in plans, as the new Stateside Fiat network was expecting it to arrive in their showrooms next year (according to Fiat/Chrysler investor presentations) alongside the 500 to expand what is currently a one-model range. “In a later stage it may also be offered in the United States, but primarily [it is intended for] Europe,” Ferrara told reporters in Kragujevac, according to Bloomberg. Already reeling from the chaotic launch of the Fiat 500 and still digesting news that Alfa Romeo’s North American re-entry has been put back once again, the dealers will have to soldier on with just one model to sustain themselves if Ferrara is correct.
Fiat has kept details of the B-segment minivan tightly under wraps, but some details have nevertheless leaked out. Amongst them is the length, at 4.1-4.25 metres, while according to Ferarra it will “probably” feature the new fuel-efficient 900cc two-cylinder TwinAir engine. Styling direction has been drawn from its successful smaller sister, the 500. It's world debut is set for the Geneva Motor Show next March.
Ferrara claimed that 850 million euros will have been invested in the rundown plant at Kragujevac in Serbia by the end of this year and, quoted Bloomberg, “state-of-the art production equipment” from Italy, Germany and Japan was now being installed.
In true Fiat style, Ferrara hopes that production of the Ellezero will hit 250,000 units a year, but added, more realistically, that “the actual volume will, of course, depend on demand.” He was also quoted as claiming that Fiat might consider building “another new model” in Serbia.
- novo MPV compacto com versões de 5 e 7 lugares
- Substitui Idea e Multipla
- Styling inspirado no 500 (a imagem é apenas uma previsão, não se sabendo mesmo se será tão colado ao 500)
- Motores incluirão Twinair
- Comprimento andará entre os 4.1m e 4.25m
- Deverá também chegar aos EUA para complementar o 500 (apesar de já ir com atraso)
- Apresentação no salão de Genebra em Março de 2012.
Ellezero é o nome pelo que este projecto é conhecido, pelo que o nome definitivo ainda está a ser discutido.
E já agora... mula de testes?