I’m not sure why, but I tend to like car news that is completely irrelevant for the European market. Maybe the fact that a car isn’t the so-manieth facelift of a small hatchback of which you already see about 85,000 a day makes car news more interesting.
Even so if the car in question really isn’t very special. The Fiat Viaggio, by the looks of the first images the company has just released, is basically a follow-up for the Fiat Bravo. The difference is they’ve given it a bottom. The reason for that is that the car is aimed at the Chinese market, where it will also be produced. The car will be fully revealed during the Beijing International Auto Show later this month, but the teaser pics promise a smooth and clean design that’s meant to last.
And with the option to later also deliver the Viaggio to customers in Europe, as successor to the Bravo, that isn’t an unnecessary luxury. Unless they changed the odd bolt or nut somewhere, the current Bravo has been completely unchanged since its introduction in 2007 and its time of replacement hasn’t been announced yet, suggesting it has still got at least a year to go. Keeping a car in the market, unchanged, for that long means its design has to be first time right.
But in all honesty, even that might not be enough. I remember first seeing a Bravo in Italy in 2007, just moments after the car’s release onto the market. I was in awe; what a beautiful car it was, particularly if you compare it to its predecessor, the Stilo. It just had to become a success. But despite its beautiful and classy stature it was only a hit-seller in Italy for a few months and in the Netherlands it never really penetrated. I’m guessing even less so in the UK: I’ve never seen one in London!
The Viaggio, rather than a revolution, is merely an evolution of the Bravo’s design and as a result I expect it won’t be able to punch a dent in a pack of butter in Europe. Pity, ‘cause it’s not unhandsome.
Unsurprisingly Fiat is focussing on the massive market far away from home first.