Opinion : You can’t blame them for trying

Fiat 128 advert

I must admit that I have regular AROnline Contributor Andrew Ryan to thank for this one. Otherwise known as @thecarfactoids, he’s been tweeting about BMC>MG Rover (and more) related stuff on Twitter for several years now. He has been quietly building up a significant following on this social media platform thanks to his pithy tweets delving into the more obscure areas of automotive history…

So, when he posted these two ads from a late-1970s issue of CAR magazine, I couldn’t help but smile, and remind myself that, on the whole, motor advertising is a lot fluffier these days. But I love the idea that Fiat felt compelled to remind the magazine’s readers that the 128 was a more capable car than rivals that not only included the Austin Allegro, but also the Ford Escort, Renault 12, Vauxhall Chevette and Volkswagen Derby.

Personally speaking, the 128 is a car that I’ve always admired rather than loved, coming from a fertile period in automotive history that also brought us the brilliant Alfa Romeo Alfasud and Citroën GS and helped shaped the family car into the package that we know it today. Its engineering was fabulous, and it was (and is) great to drive, but the longevity of its body was a joke (as so many other family cars were back then), and its lacklustre three-box styling was way too straight-laced for the upcoming progressive decade.

However, looking at these two ads back-to-back, and the Allegro, bless it, really does look like the more interesting and cohesive design. To be fair, the Fiat’s profile view is its most boring, while the Allegro’s is probably its best, unfettered by its inset headlights and bulbous detailing. You could argue that its rear end appears to be dragging on the floor, and those five occupants look fairly hemmed in, but it’s also a bright and fun image, with one of the least appropriate tag lines ever conceived.

So, is it the Fiat or Allegro you’d buy?

I remember that advert well and, in an era about to bring us the joyous Fiat Strada, it all looked a little bit desperate – but at least Fiat didn’t namecheck the pacesetting Volkswagen Golf or its many hatchback rivals as cars to beat. In 1979, the Fiat was ten-years old, and the Allegro was six, and both were spent forces on the marketplace, even though the Fiat was a top seller in its homeland, and the Allegro hovered in the upper half of the UK Top 10 bestsellers list. The question for buyers then would be which is going to give out first – the Fiat’s bodywork or the Allegro’s gearbox?

That was then and this is now, though. Which would I have now? After having recently driven Richard Gunn’s Series 3 Allegro 1.3, I can confirm that they’re still very fit for the road. Not quick, of course, but blessed with brilliant ride quality, decent handling, a reasonable gearchange and surprisingly responsive steering. I found myself thinking, ‘yeah, I wouldn’t mind one of these’ – and that was after I’d driven my Austin 1300

However, despite its dowdy looks and slightly odd proportions, the Fiat would still turn my head, thanks to its vim and vigour, and its more precise handling. Yes, the steering is heavier, and the gearchange set in cold, hard rubber, but overall, it was just a little more of a convincing family car. Either way, it was a desperate advert – an ageing old player sniping at its most decrepit rivals…

Austin Allegro advert

Keith Adams

72 Comments

  1. “But looking at these two ads back-to-back” – to avoid craning my neck, I looked at them side by side!

  2. Keith,I wrote a counterfactual about the British auto industry,and hope to publish it on aronline.
    How should I contribute it?

  3. One of my schoolmates had a 128 as his first car. It looked decent enough in red and drove well. At least it appeared to drive well until asked to ascend a long and steep hill. It then became apparent that the engine was rather lacking in compression and fair proportion of the ponies had bolted.Shortly thereafter he also discovered that the rear wheel arches consisted of newspaper and filler. It must have been nice when new though.

  4. In 1979 the most comfortable, roomiest, and quickest was the Renault 14 TS. Advanced styling did not please everyone due to wheel arches much larger than its usual at that time 13 inches 155 tires. Its designer Robert Broyer was not happy at-all with the tracks and wheels the chassis engineers had decided to apply.

    • The Renault 14 was a bit of an oddity, with it’s “angular pear” styling & Peugeot suitcase engines, that only recently I found that Renault had jointly developed. but only used them in the 14.

      Thanks to the rear subframe design they seemed to rust almost as badly as a Fiat.

      • Not only the rear subframe rusted, the bodywork to. My dad, who had no interest in cars at all bought the Renault 14 (after a Renault 6) because he liked the shape. It was a brand new car and after only three months it it had rust spots on the roof and the body. Guarantee? Nope, nothing, zilich, zero, nada. It was the last Renault my parents bought.

        • As all seventies cars sadly. The rust guarantee came much later, starting with Audi of course. In the eighties I was working with Mercedes and Volvo amongst others and they both admitted that the seventies were terrible, cataphoresis beginning of the eighties changed that all. Even Minis stopped rusting, not speaking about Jaguars !

  5. As you say, the Fiat’s engineering was fabulous – The rest of the industry agreed. The FWD template laid down by Fiat/Atobianchi in the late 60s/early 70s still underpins the vast majority of small/medium European cars to this day – Lightweight transverse motor, end on transmission/transaxle, Macpherson struts at the front, semi-independent torsion beam at the back. Only now with the advent of Electric vehicles is the industry starting to move away from the Fiat model.

    • The Simca 1100 appered 2 years before the Fiat 128 with similar front layout but a hatchback. It’s the Simca which made the template. I know about its brilliant but tapetty engine that powered generations of Horizon, 1307, Solara.

      • The front wheel drive end on gearbox was pioneered with the Autobianchi Primula launched in 1964.

        • I know that but it did not sell much.

          It had a terrible “tube on leaf springs” rear-axle, was a gas-guzzler and was very expensive compared to the competition. Not sure it was launched as a “true” hatchback, was more ADO16-like boot.

          Giacosa made a much better car with the 128.

          The 1967 SIMCA 1100 made 2,1 millions sales and really was the 1st large selling pattern for the C segment hatchbacks. The Golf would come in 1974.

          The front wheel drive end-on gearbox was pioneered with the 1938 DKW F8, 1948 SAAB 92 (when getting a 3rd cylinder the engine turned 90°), Trabant …

  6. The R14 was famously advertised under the strapline, “Une poire c’est confortable” – which translates as a pear {shaped object} is comfortable. The front track was narrower than the back – you had to change the alternator belt by removing a bolt-on panel in the inner wing – while the wheelbase was different on each side, due to the parallel transverse torsion bars. Meanwhile the 21 has 6 different wheelbases depending on the model – imagine having to check the dimensions of a Renault after a crash repair!
    More recently, I met a chap who owns a Dolomite Sprint fitted with a 400bhp Ford Zetec engine. Every 3 months, he goes to a body shop to get it pulled straight again…

    • All torsion bars equipped Renault till the 14 (the latter had shorter bars facing each other) had a 3cm difference between the 2 wheelbases, Who cares ? Desoite stupide avertissement, over à miĺion were produced. They were very confortable with superior roadholding and incredibly roomy for their externat dimensions. The 21 had same wheelbase both sites but wheelbzse depending on engine. F 1.7 engine was placed transversally when the bigger 2 litre was classically placed forward the front wheels. And à longer wheelbase for the estate as for many competitors..

  7. What was really smart was the FIAT 128 Coupe,the company made some lovely coupe’s around this time the 124 was first, then the 128 and then the 130 Coupe one of the most beautiful cars of the time. Most Of the products of FIAT during that era were pretty good,the major problem of for them was rust along with other cars of the time

    • A lot of Italian cars around that time, seemed to have dull, boxy saloons, and gorgeous looking coupe variants

      Fiat produced a series of unadventurous looking saloons, the 124, 125, 130, 128, 131 and 132 are very similar really, but the coupes and spyders are stunning.

      Even Alfa and Lancia produced fairly dull looking 4 doors, the 2000, Alfetta, Beta, Gamma, Fulvia, Flaminia , whereas the coupe versions were lovely.

      The Ritmo/Strada was probably the first time that a family Fiat looked interesting!

  8. By the time of the ad the 128 might indeed have been an ‘ageing old player’ but it shifted over 3 million copies in its lifetime. The Allegro sold 640,000. Enough said!

    • Curiously the 128 was able to achieve that as a three-box saloon (to the two-box Allegro), despite Zastava getting a hatchback version of the 128 and doing without any engines larger than 1.3-litres (notwithstanding the allegedly related Ritmo/Strada that succeeded the 128).

      • The Zastava hatchback always reminds me of the Simca 1100, as a hatchback which looks far more like a saloon than an estate.

        • Fiat themselves did appear to look at a non-coupe hatchback version of the Fiat 128 independent of the Zastava hatchback, however apart from the early Primula it seems a number of fairly influential people within Fiat also had a bias against hatchbacks (similar to BMC/BL) which not only affected the Fiat 128, but also the Fiat 127 at the beginning (when it was initially launched as a 2-door two-box saloon) as well as almost impacted the Autobianchi A112 during the latter’s development.

          • Wonder why not hatchback.
            Even Issigonis for ADO16.
            In parallel the A40 Countryman was looking good so why ??
            Dante Giacosa was less shy with the 1964 Primula and … came backward with the 127 !
            The Renault 16 came in 1965 and was not so well received firstn because an executive car could not look like a delivery-van or say a Renault 4.
            The worst was the Citroen GS, you had to crawl to fill the boot with luggage !

          • Aware many were unconvinced about hatchbacks at the time with some at Fiat even reputedly viewing them as glorified estates IIRC (from the Giacosa book).

            The sales comparison between the Innocenti A40 Berlina and Combinata does demonstrate there was latent demand for such a layout despite being RWD, whereas ADO16 unlike the A40 would have made more effective use of a hatchback.

            https://www.aronline.co.uk/cars/austin/a30a35/innocenti-austin-a40/

  9. I always considered seventies Renaults to be good cars, more conventional than Citroens and better than Simcas mechanically, and all had a cossetting ride, comfortable seats, decent economy and were good cars to drive. The Rotten Pear, which actually did come in a pear like shade of green, had all these attributes, but seemed to rust more than other Renaults and never sold very well outside of France. Yet I don’t think it was any worse for rust than the instant rust of the Fiat Strada, and seemed quite well made in comparison.

    • It was said that Renault were nationalised by the French Govt as a WW2 reparation measure, Renault as a private company had been uncomfortably close to Hitler and Germany, as a nationalised company, their Engineers came up with advanced forward-thinking cars such as the R4, the R5 and the R16, their Engineers were the equals of our own Alec Issigonis, this contrasts with the ideology of the 1980s, that nationalisation stifles innovation and only private companies are capable of advancement.

    • In the 1970s my company owned a Renault 14 hatch in its fleet. I got to drive it once or twice and remember it was very comfortable and had a decent gearchange. At the time I was not keen on French cars but this one did sway me a bit.

  10. VW was also nationalized when they bought-out and left working Audi.
    There are good engineers, like Sir Alec, like Dante Giacosa or like Fernand Picard and Yves Georges at Renault’s. The problem is more on investments.
    Is being nationalized a burden when in need on investments ?
    On the opposite, some French people would say that Renault nearly died twice, 1st with their 1st US venture in the sixties – Dauphine was not the right product and the network close to zero, 2nd with their 2nd US venture in the eighties, the second one being a little different : they did well purchasing AMC and Jeep but totally left over Europe and lost money in their homeland. And the best engineers were in the US then.
    A little when they rescued Nissan, during 6 years investments and engineers were in Japan, not in France and Renault lost some ground, then came the 2008 crisis ans still Nissan is a burden. Last year Renault’s loss was about 8 billions, 5 coming from their 44,6% share of Nissan.
    The State still owns 15% and can guarantee loans.

    • The Dauphine’s case was also not helped by the lack of a 4-speed from its introduction, seems both Serre and Picard originally wanted a 4-speed for the 4CV.

      Did wonder if the RWD 114 Project Frégate successor and its Cleon-Alu 6-cylinder would have fared better in the US as well as encouraged further enlargement of the Cleon-Alu 4/6-cylinder engines beyond 1.65 (and a hypothetical 2.5-litre Six) to more conservatively engineered production viable versions of the fragile 1798-1950cc motorsport focused units developed by Marc Mignotet and used in the Alpine A110 (leading to a hypothetical 2.9-litre Six).

      On Renault’s 2nd US venture, what did Renault neglect exactly with respect its domestic European models?

      • The W114 was ill-fated, you had to be either Mercedes or Opel to sell such a car in Europe. I think the US Dauphine had the 4 speed of the Gordini. Anyway it did not support the high temperature of the motorways, especially in hot States – VW with air-cooled did much better. It’s silly radiator positionning was not of any help.
        As for the 2nd drop, the problem was the Renault 5 renewal. It was planned beginning of the eighties and was overtaken by the Renault 9, not of great use in France, better selling in Spain and Italy, at that time they liked 3 boxes. The Renault 9 was pushed forward to sell in the US where hatchbacks had no great sales. Then came the 11, hatch derivative of the 9 (9 was called Alliance, 11 was called Encore). When the “Super CInq” Gandini’s design for the new transverse engine Renault 5 in 1984, Peugeot had taken the lead with it’s well done 205 since 1982. The “old 5” was still selling but without a penny of benefit.
        BTW I don’t think the alloy Cleon was pushed over 1798cc.
        Even with the 807G which was a scarcely produced 16 valves version for racing only.

        • That is too bad, some of the Project 114 proposals look pretty promising on a visual and engine level with a Six before the PRV V6.

          Did not know the Supercinq was originally intended to precede the 9 and 11 from the early-80s, was it always intended for the Supercinq to be based on a shortened 9/11 platform (was the latter itself an extensively modified development of the 14 platform or a complete clean sheet with no carry over)?

          Renault seemed to have had a number of projects going on at the time that went nowhere from the VBG “R2” city car / Fiat Panda-rival, the Communist CGT proposed Renault Neutral concept to replace the Renault 4 (that appears to have been developed in parallel to what became the Twingo) as well as various 4×4 projects such as the VVA and VVR plus the Jeep II and Jeep JJ prototypes (plus a 2-litre Turbo Alpine GTA, V6 Turbo 4WD Alpine GTA and GTA Cabriolet, etc).

          Have managed to find some references to the 1860 (1854cc) and 1950 Cleon-Alu engines in the following link, although it has intrigued me whether there was room for the production engines to be expanded beyond 1647cc to 1798cc at minimum to slot below the 2.0-2.2-litre J-Type / Douvrin. Also read Renault looked at a 1.3-litre version for the 12 before deciding enlarging the Cleon-Fonte was cheaper to develop.

          http://www.retroalpine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/alpinerenaulta110.pdf

          • The Supercinq/9/11 platform was all new and … same wheelbase all around by shortening the 2 rear torsion bars being half the width. On phase 2 they added another pair, don’t know exactly how it worked.
            I don’t think they tried to reduce the Cléon Alu for the 12 because it’s 1st appearance was a 1470 with 58 DIN (parallel valves) so I think it would have been sufficient but the Cleon Iron Steel was as light and powerful, much cheaper to produce.
            Then it was expanded to 1565 with hemi-head for the Renault 16 TS with 83 DIN and “normal” head for the Renault 16 TL with 67 DIN.
            The 1565 was pushed to 113 DIN with 2 double Webers for the Renault 12 Gordini, then only 108 with EFI on the 17 TS/Gordini, 127 DIN with 2 double Webers and different camshaft on the Alpine 1600S and Alpine A310.
            Yes they made many prototypes for VBG (Vehicule Bas de Gamme) and finally ended by the Twingo.
            The Neutral was just a CGT trade union study/mock-up that would demonstrate that a replacement for the Renault 4 could be manufactured cheaper in the Boulogne-Billancourt plant preventing from being closed.
            There were some other studies leading to nothing.
            The Alpine GTA was the extension of the A310, it was US homologated and sold in Europe, then came the A610 putting an end to the marque … for some years !
            As for Jeep prototypes I don’t know.

          • The reference cited for the possible use of a 1.3 Cleon-Alu for the 12 at least on the wiki article on the Renault 12 (that is obviously not 100% reliable) is mentioned as “Automobilia”. Toutes les voitures françaises 1970 (Salon [Oct] 1969). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 31: Pages 40, 44–47. 2004.

            AFAIK the impression one gets of the Alpine A610 is an acclaimed yet commercially unsuccessful car that was pushed too far upmarket from its featherweight origins, with the 150 hp 2-litre Alpine W71 (A710/A410) project being developed too late to save the marque and thus denying enthusiasts the prospect of agile Alpines models eventually being powered by roughly similar spec 2-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engines as the Clio II/III RS models.

            Of the understanding the aforementioned Jeep projects had a significant amount of Renault content, the 1977 AMC Jeep II concept was to feature a 1.4 Cleon, with the Renault Jeepsy Berex and Renault Jeep II prototypes also believed to be Renault powered.

            http://www.cherokee-fr.com/~jeepfamily/Europe/France/Renault/Renault%20et%20Jeep.htm

  11. I love most classic Renaults but mostly a little older than discussed here. For me the R8 and 10, the 4L and 16 were the ‘bees knees’. We did buy a Floride of which I have to say the handling was probably the worst of any car we’ve owned – but it oozed character and it was so pretty!
    Was it not the very learned LJK Setright who once said (in Car of course!) that the Renault 12 was more comfortable to ride in than a Rolls Royce?

  12. The Renault 12 had a light steel-stamped live-axle with coil springs and FWD, it was not an Escort hopefully but not the best from Renault. And for sure not as comfortable as his beloved Bristol !

  13. I had a 128 3P Berlinetta for over 5 years back then. Wonderful driving with a “singing” engine and great handling. Replacements were 2 Alfasuds; the second was a Ti Green Cloverleaf Hatchback which I also kept for over 5 years. Glorious driving for over 12 years!

  14. @Nate thanks for the Jeep stories, did not know those had been studied.
    I do not believe in the downsized Cleon-alu story.
    But in 1565 form with the standard parallel valves head for the US-export Renault 12 (long before the AMC story there were some Renault 16 and 12 exported to the US, the Iron-steel-Cleon was too weak to afford the emission nuclear-plant-style emission systems.
    Later-on there will be some federalized 1397cc iron-steel-Cleon Renault 9 exported or made in Kenosha but not giving more than 54 DIN. Then came the F engine 1721cc 82 DIN and then 90 in Europe, something like 75 DIN in the US.
    The A610 was overpriced. Its interior looked terribly cheap compared to any serious German sports car for a price close to a base Porsche 911. The 3.0 turbo V6 was giving 250 healthy hp with a lightweight but the prestige was not there with a Renault logo (now Alpine is back as a brand, not a Renault).
    Alpine like Lotus was bord as relatively affordable light car and not as a Porsche competitor or say a 356A competitor but not 911, despite the fact that it sold better in Germany than anywhere else !
    And yes you could get the same performance from a nasty Golf or even Renault 21 Turbo for less than halh the price.
    Alpine is now back, for those who like the symbol, the best of engineering for not so much money. Compared to a base Cayman it’s a fun, because the 252 DIN Alpine is much faster than the 250 Cayman due to the 300kg weight difference.
    And now the Cayman is a flat-four with a lumpy sound when driven at legal speed.
    However with the tax emissions it’s said that our current Alpine will be replaced by an EV codevelopped with Lotus – now we know that Renault and Geely will work together on EVs, Lotus is part of Geely as well as Volvo, Polestar and Lynk&Co.
    BTW Li Shufu, Geely’s owner, has got 10% of the Mercedes-Benz AG (!) and 50% of SMART on top of the rest ! Geely will produce the next SMART but we are far from the topic 🙂

      • It was used in some Le Mans cars like WM and other racing cars and … the block (not the heads) in the Alfa 155 DTM !
        Alfa and Lancia were same company, Alfa needed a lower block thant the 60° Busso for DTM racing and Lancia was using the Douvrin before switching the Thema to the Busso, but who knew ?
        Today the Renault-Nissan M5P 1800 is at least as good in term of technology and reputation as the big Porsche 2500 flat-four despite a much smaller displacement. 225 DIN in the Espace/Talisman, 252 in the Alpine, 300 (?) in the Megane Trophy RS, 292 in the Alpine S, compact and light.

      • I don’t believe so because Matra was partly owned by Chrysler Europe and was only working on SIMCA bits. But the fun is that when Renault of America/AMC/Jeep was sold to Chrysler US, they apparently tried to adapt the SIMCA sewing machine and other bits they got with the Horizon.

        • The Matra concept I believe was post Espace, well it looked it and I think it had Renault badges on. I will try and find it again

  15. It’s amazing how Fiat seemed to keep coming back from such disasters as the Strada and the totally underwhelming and not very reliable Bravo/ Brava era. The original Strada was probably the closest the Italians came to an Allegro moment, it had love it or hate it looks and had lousy quality and rustproofing that saw sales dive in north Europe, but the company managed to bounce back with the Panda and Uno that were massive sellers and steadily became better made and rustproofed. Also from the late nineties to late noughties, Punto aside, Fiat produced a set of forgettable and badly made small famliy cars that only sold on price and to fleets like Kennings. However, they really did take off with the 500 and its two derivatives and the third generation Panda and sales are booming.

    • You cannot live on Panda and 500, even 500X does not bring a lot of money.

      Look at Luca di Meo’s position : no more Twingo, you loose money, keep the Clio but small benefit and press on the C segment Arkana/Megane (which will become an EV) and Kadjar (renewed in 2022).
      This is where generalist make money.

      This is where Skoda/Seat/VW make money : Golf and Golf platform derivatives such as Octavia or Toledo.

      Small is too small, and big does not sell against the premiums, even though Peugeot trying 508 after 508 and Citroen with the Chinese DS9 we will get in Europe soon. Look at Opel they left over their Senator, FOrd left over their Granada, making money with the Focus.

      Fiat is earning money on Jeep and RAM only.
      The rest is desperate.

      • I am waiting to receive a copy of the book about Ford and Alan Mullaly, As CEO AM re-engineered Ford USA so successfully , Ford remained solvent when GM and Chryler entered bankruptcy in 2009.
        His response tohis people and the industry idea that small cars do not make money but support the manufacture of bigger profitable cars,”small cars not making money, well you had better learn how, that’s where the industry is going”. We need a few more AM’s in the car industry

    • My only experience of driving Fiat cars was when my boss had a Croma 2.0 Auto (1990). It was quite punchy in acceleration and I liked the autobox… was one of very few automatic cars I have driven!

      However it did suffer a few mechanical problems and was sold in 1994 – luckily rust did not seem a problem.

      • @ Hilton D, by 1990, Fiat were galvanising their cars and had a six year anti perforation warranty, so the rust issue had been beaten. However, the below par build quality and electrical faults were still an issue on many Fiats that drove many people away, even if the Uno, Tipo and Croma were otherwise good cars with strong engines, good performance and low running costs.

        • Fiat quality did indeed remain woeful. They may have galvanised the cars but personal experience leads me question the effectiveness. I had a ’97 Bravo that required warranty rectification to bubbling paint on the driver’s side sill at under a year old. Other mechanical and electrical faults means it wins the “worst car I ever owned” award, hands down. Pity, it was a good drive when it was working. Fiat will never see another penny of my money though.

          • What Car magazine has published results of a relaibilty survey for cars up to 5 years of age, Fiat were bottom of the table score of 82%, the top five were scored at 95% to 98%, Lexus were top, DACIA were second! Well there isn’t much to go wrong in a Dacia

          • @ standhill, the Bravo was a dire car. We told Kennings to stop sending us them for hire cars after one had to pull into a service station as it was overheating and then caught fire, and others developed faults like sticking electric windows. Thereafter it was the trusty Mark 3 Mondeo, which were completely faultless on 300 mile journeys and were excellent motorway cars. Fiats are better now, but I would still be wary of buying one.

        • Glen Aylett : The Uno was , by a very considerable margin , positively the nastiest little car I have ever driven

    • If you take away the rust, dodgy build quality and looks the Strada was actually a bloody good car with good handling and strong engines. The fab Lancia Delta was built on the same floor pan and shared many other parts.

      The Strada was also the basis for a concept car by the Michelotti studio in 1981, an early form of people carrier called the CVP.

      https://www.carrozzieri-italiani.com/listing/fiat-ritmo-cvp/

  16. Fiat is a subsidiary of Stellantis,
    Stellantis is the company in overall charge of Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall brands.

    Taveres, the CEO of Stellantis has declared a 10 year window from 2021 for each brand to “prove itself”
    whatever that means,is it code word for make profit or be shutdown?

    All those brands “proving” makes me think of cats and dogs in one cage, the sparks are going to fly

    • While sharing all components and just changing shape it is à question of dealers net work and image. Lancia was a gréât brand before before ending as an European Dodge importer. I wonder what he watts to do with it. Management and sa ability to disguise cars is better than BL’s was but it looks like Austin Morris Riley Wolseley MG at least.
      Its a little bettee because e
      It’s accross 3 countries and Germans would be reluctant to buy a Fiat or à Citroën, not sure Italians buy Peugeots and Opel is seen as a kind of Dacia, a much cheaper Peugeot. Think that 50 years ago it was more like semi-premium!

    • Tavares is kidding himself if he thinks that Stellantis will survive 10 years . The slippery slope ( of the future of private motoring in new vehicles ) is growing progressively steeper with every year that passes , and the blind alley of all-electric vehicles without the infrastructure to support them may be the killer blow – excuse please the mixed metaphors !

      • Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall brands.
        In the garden of Stellantis,I see weeds, dead wood and very few flowers, of those brands i think only Fiat has any track record of modernity, they have a few hybrids in their stable. As banks create institutions to dissipate their bad or toxic debts , the worldcar makers have created an institution called Stellantis

        • Fiat being late in the EV despite the 500 and in hybrids are in need of Peugeot Citroën advanced technology.

  17. What will CEO Tavares do with Stellantis? I reflect on the fact that brands once rivals are now sharing the same kennel, how many of those companies actually make profit and how much overlap or part sharing currently exists between the products of each brand. With the demise of the IC engined car at the end of this decade, there isn’t much time left to restructure and recoup costs of restructuring among the constituents brands of Stellantis. I think it will end in a flood of tears.

  18. @cyclist Dacia are reliable, based upon well proven Renault components, not too sophisticated in term of ADAS and ECUs. Even though sold in Europe they are engineered for Russia, North Africa, Brasil, some countries with harder roads and climate. They have to be simple to maintain and repair.

    • The result of the What Car survey confirms information given by a trusted friend with 50 years of working at the upper end of car retailing, Dacia cars are reliable and excellent value for money.

  19. @cyclist : Mullaly maybe right but the risk is like Fiat and this was happening to Renault to be a small cars only company. Luca di Meo is trying to reverse the trend now.

  20. The FIAT brand in Western Europe outside Italy is dominated by the 500, indeed it could almost be a one product company, especially as having launched an all new electric 500, they don’t seem to be in any hurry to replace the rest of their aging range.

    With the C1 and 108 not being replaced, this does give the 500 a unique position in the Stellantis portfolio

  21. You could argue that prior to the 500, Fiat’s products, except for the Punto, weren’t selling well outside of Italy and the Bravo, Brava and Tempra were regarded as poor quality, underwhelming cars. The 500 and its offshoots and the third generation Panda seem to have turned Fiat around outside of Italy, but in the C segment the new Tipo has flopped.

  22. The made in Turkey new Tipo was intended as a Dacia Logan/Sandero competitor but in Western Europe Fiat’s image is not low-cost, Fiat’s image is now 500 and 500X and nothing else !
    Product-positionning is not their best know-how, remember the Croma II, it was a kind of estate and but say a medium-size sedan – Renault 16 like – but we were no longer in 1965, it was in 2006. Bravo/Brava was better done but poor quality. Stilo better quality but again outdated.

    • @ Philippe, Fiats tended to sell on price and equipment levels, as well as on driving abilities, but the 500 is now seen as an upmarket supermini like the BINI and has the inevitable crossover version. The Tipo seemed to have no role in the modern Fiat, which is based on niche products, and sales were low. Rather a shame as the original Tipo was a highly comoetent Escort rival that was good to drive and looked excellent.

      • Fiat’s branding is a mess really. The 500 is a trendy (slightly) premium urban car, but the rest of the range sells on value really. The Tipo is aimed as much at developing markets outside of Europe, the Panda is aging, the 500X and 500L are past their best, while MX5 based 124 Sport was a flop. Plus a number of Fiat vans,

        It would be like trying to sell the BMW Mini with the same brand as a Skoda Scala.

  23. Like Renault in the eighties, Fiat are doing thejr best in the US with investments and expats but letting down Old Europe. The Elkann family is not much interested in car industries
    and would-like to increase their share of the luxe market, fashion, restaurants, hotels … While merging with PSA they become smaller and will be more free to sell their shares.

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