A (kind of) new Jeep? (Based on an FCA platform)

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A (kind of) new Jeep? (Based on an FCA platform)

Given Jeep is a "premium" brand in the tree it does beg the question where the Panda and C3 on the budget platform will be pitched price wise.

It doesn’t make sense as they seem to have positioned Vauxhall as the ‘budget’ variants with the nastiest plastics, most basic low end trims and stronger reaching 0% interest new car finance options so to position Fiat as the ‘budget’ brand doesn’t seem to make sense.

I can only imagine they’ll position Fiat as the ‘stylish’ badge but still built to a cost. Vauxhall quality but rather than basic, black and grey plastic interiors they’ll have more exciting eccentric seat upholstery and shapes… more chic panels and softer design touches. Maybe some extortionate optional add ons borrowed from the DS line like fancy headlights, pearlescent paint and the likes of those…

There seems to be infinite room for badges at the minute. I can imagine within ten years Stellantis going like 2000s GM where it basically kills off entire brands like Hummer, Saab etc because without strong sales there’s just no point making them anymore. Especially if they’re going to be using a limited parts bin.

The masters at it are VAG. But at least when they bought the desirable brands they had loyal fans, people aspired to drive a Lamborghini / Porsche / Audi (back in the day)… so the fact that they shamelessly share parts and engines (a diesel Porsche would probably make its founders turn in their GRAVE) but they watered those brands down for a lower end more aspirational consumer… and surprise surprise, is a huge commercial success and now we’ve got other car brands having to band together like Stellantis to be able to compete. Even Toyota / Mazda / Subaru / Suzuki to a lesser extent have had to share models to tick boxes in other markets like Europe.

I think it’s a mistake making the Panda B-segment and ditching A-segment altogether. I really do. No more 108 or C1… but Toyota seem to thing another Aygo (just for Europe) was worth producing.

Lexus stopped the CT after creating the ‘luxury’ C segment. But Mercedes and Audi still think it’s worth while to continue on with premium cars that class.

They all make mistakes. Stellantis is going to find it hard to maintain Fiat’s appeal without having the option that Fiat did to rely on older, basic technology.

Yet the brand is strong and loved. Italians have a lot of pride in it. But whether the French overlords at Stellantis will care …. I can’t see it. Push comes to shove they’ll ‘GM’ it out of existence.

In theory they could still be making combustion cars for as long as law makers keep back sliding...in the current market it would appear not committing either way is a valid strategy.

I don’t blame the governments of Europe for essentially putting the fear of god into the manufacturers by making them THINK that the cut off date is fast approaching…. Get serious about EVs or die! … VW shifted seriously. Stellantis has been shifting seriously. Even Ford is having to rethink its European operations and binning most of its lineup including best sellers with no direct replacement. I doubt Toyota would even bother with the BZ4X had it not ‘technically’ had to have at least one for Europe by 2050..2035..2030. It was a stake in the ground.

But it’s clear that whilst the infrastructure is getting better, whilst technically some initial entry costs are falling a bit (not nearly enough for normal people)… right now it’s abundantly obvious that our current technology is limited. That even at a fast rate of improvement, we’re decades off making commercially viable mass produced, widely well received and openly welcomed products for everyday people. 2050 is still a stretch in my opinion.

Governments will continue to pull back. I just hope they don’t tank the likes of VAG and Stellantis in the process with these laws. After all.. it’ll be the everyday people bailing them out. They’re acting very careless with this.

Asian and American motor companies can laugh if this all back fires. They’ll still have the rest of the world who they built and improved ICE cars for and can easily bring back to Europe. Nobody forced them to go all in. They can take a sensible, gradual approach and afford a small loss if it doesn’t work out.

Like most of you, I think about this whole thing a lot.

Seems easy to me. Legislate EVs in urban, congested areas where they make sense. Big cities. Maybe even ban them for small periods of time in places during peak periods with something like ULEZ on demand.

That way the rest of us or anyone with a legitimate need for a diesel mile muncher, or simple petrol can continue to live their lives with minimal disruption. They will still get better. Toyota now has a hybrid system that has 190hp and 70 odd MPG. Who knows how far they’ll be able to push that with zero compromise going forward. Why aren’t we focussing on getting more from every drop in the meantime?

Insurance prices are exposing EVs for what they are. Things like that will cause normal people to revolt and protest. It’ll all hit the fan this year.

Big companies are now publishing results and governments are realising their bluff is called and legislation will have to be postponed or changed. Governments won’t let them go bust. They’ll come back on it.

Test drove a Tesla recently. Other than the insane acceleration - which did get sort of boring after an hour. It’s a fairly unremarkable car - compared to that CLA I had for a while say. And it’s not like all the other smart useful innovations can’t be added to any other car. It was cool and I see why people like them… but it’s hardly the next big thing that I thought and that people try to say it is.
To be fair having had use of a petrol Avenger whilst my Tipo was having a repair, it's not as Peugeot-like as it could be.

The platform & 1.2 engine were PSA but the engine felt very good actually. Meanwhile the touchscreen is FCA - Stellantis are using the Fiat Infotainment in the non-Italian brands now (its better than PSAs screens so I can understand why). The heating controls & centre console are as SB1500 said, just like those in the 500e, the auto gearbox buttons are also 500e, while the gear shift for the manual version is like the Jeep Renegade. The internal door releases are the same as I have in my Tipo.

The wiper stalks, window switches & electric handbrake & drive mode selector is Peugeot and like that in the 208, so it really is a mixed bag. Overall I was very tempted, but I found the steering a bit like it never fully relaxed on the motorway which as that's a lot of my driving, was an issue. I might've got used to it with time but decided to take advantage of the current Alfa Romeo offers including 0% finance, and have gone for a Tonale instead, but I certainly wouldn't discount the Avenger or forthcoming Fiat 600 in Petrol form. They look like good value for money, especially compared to the electric versions.