FACTfile - Fiat (Grande) Punto

Punto - the new Fiat for Oz

As prospective Australian Fiat distributor Ateco Automotive points out in its recent media release, there has been a "strategic shift" in the European car market over the last five years that has seen car buyers moving into the Punto's market sector from the one above to make it the largest market sector. This sector now represents 26 per cent of the European car market, with about 3.75 million cars sold a year. In Italy this sector is event more significant, where this category accounts for 37 per cent of the market.

This sector is split up 56 per cent petrol engines and 44 per cent diesels. This market shift to smaller cars, which has also been seen in Australia in recent months, is not matched by a willingness to give up the features, equipment and style provided by the larger cars, providing an additional challenge for new generation small cars. Ateco - and Fiat - are nonethless confident that now is the right time to reintroduce Fiat to Australia - and the Grande Punto will be the first Fiat off the rank. Given the importance of this model we have reproduced the full brief from Italy that accompanied the launch of the Grande Punto in Europe in September last year. Final details of which models will be available in Australia are yet to be confirmed...

The Grande Punto, the new Fiat that aims to repeat the historical success of the previous model, without following in its footsteps, makes its debut in Turin. Although in theory the car belongs to segment B, its size, equipment and characteristics actually represent an alternative to many segment C cars.

The Grande Punto is therefore unique in the world panorama, designed and built to be the new benchmark in stylistic terms, introducing a concept of larger 'dimensions'. The model also reaches safety and quality standards that are particularly high for its segment, it offers the best range of diesel engines and, finally, it has a very competitive price/content ratio. As a result of all these features, the Grande Punto interprets three fundamental qualities, beauty, solidity and brilliance in a highly original way.

he result is a car that embodies the passion, and the styling and construction capabilities of a brand that was founded over a century ago. Because this is part of the brand's genetic make-up, together with the work and professional pride of thousands of people - technicians, blue collars and managers - who have worked in its plants and offices, and on the race track, over the years. It contains the roots of the inimitable personality that ensure that we immediately recognise a Fiat among all the cars we see on the road. There has always been a Fiat car for the people who first discovered the car as an irreplaceable means of individual mobility, and then learned to appreciate cars that are beautiful, reliable and enjoyable to drive, but above all at an accessible price. And the Grande Punto is no exception; in fact it sets new styling, safety and comfort parameters for this category, where the world's best manufacturers are all vying for space. Suffice it to say that the compact segment represents 26% of the Western European car market, in other words, the 'core' of the market, with about 3,750,000 cars sold a year. This is even more the case in Italy, where this category accounts for 37% of the market, made up 56% of petrol engines and 44% of diesels.

TIn order to achieve and maintain the lead in this market bracket, the Grande Punto must make a real leap forward in conceptual terms. Only a few years ago, a car with these dimensions, comfort and equipment would have been considered a 'family car', and certainly not a compact.
Which is why only a brand like Fiat could have swept away the classic categories to dictate times and methods, once again setting trends and imposing concepts and innovative solutions. The latest arrival from Fiat takes a generation leap forward compared to the previous model, as the Punto did in relation to the Uno when it was launched in 1993, and the Uno did in relation to the 127. The name lives on, as a wonderful legacy of a car that has been appreciated by 6 million customers with different tastes, ages, nationalities and social extraction.

The three winning qualities of the new model

Luminous, welcoming and functional

Developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro together with the Fiat Style Centre, the styling of the Grande Punto stands out in the current automotive scene for the beauty of the exterior line, which is modern, elegant and distinctly 'Italian', a 'Mediterranean' stylistic language where the tapered rounded lines seem to be inspired by the sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s. Like the exterior, the interior of the Grande Punto represents the most evolved expression of Italian styling, thanks to the quality of the materials and the care that went into every detail. The result is a luminous, welcoming, functional environment.

This is a car created to 'excite', but also to express the solidity that comes from superb quality standards. This is borne out by extremely high safety standards, attention to detail that is unusual in this market bracket, and exceptional comfort. This impression is confirmed by the car's external dimensions which put it at the peak of its category: it is 403 cm long, 168 cm wide, 149 cm high and has a wheelbase of 2.51 metres, measurements which translate into an extraordinary amount of interior roominess. The Grande Punto is clearly a car of superior quality: from the very first stages of the project, the team working on it pursued very high quality standards, drawing on a stringent engineering process, based on a very strong platform, while it applied the most advanced, innovative reliability methodologies throughout the model's development and industrialisation. And finally, the Grande Punto is agile and enjoyable to drive in all situations. A brilliance derived primarily from its engines, which combine excellent performance, low fuel consumption and absolute respect for the environment (they are all Euro 4). There are two petrol engines (the 65 bhp 1.2 8v and the new 77 bhp 1.4 8v), and four turbodiesels (the 120 and 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet, the 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v and the new 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v with a variable geometry turbo).

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