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Fiat attempts to re-penetrate China market

By SYF77 on 29 Mar 2012

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In December 2007, Fiat sold its share in its money-losing joint venture with Nanjing Automotive to China's Shanghai Automotive. Not discouraged by the event, Fiat is again trying to gain a foothold in the world’s largest car market with the launch of the Viaggio compact sedan at the Beijing auto show in Apr 2012. The Viaggio is basically a re-badged Dodge Dart.

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The Viaggio will be the first model to be made from Fiat’s joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group. This model is crucial to the Fiat’s plan to expand beyond Europe, where car sales are expected to go south for the fifth consecutive year.

The recent Eurozone debt crisis is not going to help either. Fiat also plans to launch a hatchback version of the Viaggio in China, which is rumoured to be exported to Europe to replace the slow-selling and aging Bravo hatchback.

The Viaggio will be made at Fiat and Guangzhou Auto's new factory in the Changsha Economic Zone in Hunan province. The factory has a planned initial annual capacity of 140,000 units. Fiat aims to boost its sales in China to 300,000 by 2014 from less than 1,500 in 2011.

In China, the Viaggio will be powered by locally built naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions of Fiat's 1.4-liter Multiair petrol engine. Going by the US specifications, the 1.4 Turbo should produce about 160bhp.

China’s car market is expected to grow by 8% in 2012, after crossing the 13 million passenger car sales mark in 2011. With the dashing good looks of the Viaggio, I believed that it will be the ‘Viagra’ to Fiat’s sales in china.

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Written by SYF77
I have been a car fanatic since 1989, when my father was changing our family car then to a Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL fitted with a Twin Cam 16 valve engine that was carburetor-fed, a big deal back in those days. The automobile technology and industry fascinates me and I hope to broadcast these interesting developments to everyone out there through this blog.

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