The Fiat Punto is currently dying for a replacement. Fiat tried changing the model name in third generation several times and even gave a facelift, but eventually had to axe the model in several markets owing to poor sales. However, the product isn’t dying permanently; it will move on to fourth generation in next year.
A speculative rendering from LP Design previews how the 2016 Fiat Punto could look like, if it was inspired by the Aegea concept that was unveiled at the 2015 Istanbul Motor Show in May. The Aegea concept will evolve into a compact sedan as a Linea-replacement later this year. The new sedan will get hatchback and station wagon versions next year, with the hatchback taking place of the Bravo.
Fiat plans to launch the next generation Punto in Latin America (in 2016) and Asia-Pacific (in 2017). So, the Aegea-concept inspired design and styling can be expected on the all-new Punto, as seen in the rendering. The rendering previews a very aggressive front fascia for the car, totally opposite of the current generation’s dull front fascia that is one of the most disliked things about it. The headlamps are different from the Aegea concept, featuring more sleekness, sharpness and aggression.
Earlier reports say that the Punto will be replaced by a 5-door version of the Fiat 500. Not to question the credibility of these reports, but sensibly thinking, a 5-door version of the 500 hatchback can’t justify in terms of affordability for the developing markets in Latin America and Asia-Pacific where the Punto is sold as an affordable hatchback. Even if Fiat does succeed in making it cheap and affordable with low quality materials, it will face another major problem: tarnishing the image of the iconic 500 hatchback.
Alternatively, Fiat may launch a low-cost next generation Punto with cues borrowed from the Aegea concept in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, and replace the current Punto by a 5-door version of the Fiat 500 in Europe. Of course, the company will need volumes to justify the cost of developing and manufacturing a different, more premium replacement for Europe alone. However, if the company makes a 5-door version of the 500 hatchback as a Punto replacement for Europe, it can sell the same in North America also, to lower production costs and strengthen its footprint in the latter market. This could be a win-win strategy for the Italian automaker to succeed with the new B-segment hatchback in both developed and developing markets.
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