The Fiat Grande Punto will be replaced internationally in 2016, until when a facelifted model, due to be launched in India later this year, will do duty. India’s tryst with the Punto replacement will happen in 2017 and the new car will be based on the Fiat 500, which is underpinned by the US Small Wide platform.
This platform also underpins a range of Fiat 500 derivatives such as the 500L hatchback and the upcoming 500X crossover. A 7 seat MPV (Fiat 500XL) based on this platform is also in the works for international markets. India though, will have to be content with a five seat B+ segment hatchback, dubbed the Fiat 500 Plus.
As the Italian car maker makes the switch from the Small Platform (the Grande Punto and Linea’s base) that it developed in association with General Motors, to the Small Wide platform, the cars have undergone a change in terms of exterior dimensions and overall fit and finish. The Fiat 500 Plus is expected to be larger than the current Punto, with a premium fit and finish also likely.
What then will happen to the Fiat Grande Punto, a car that enjoys a significant fan following across the globe?
Two scenarios are possible.
1. Fiat may retire the car altogether and move completely to the US Small Wide platform. The 500 Plus, the Punto’s replacement could be the Brand’s solitary new B+ segment hatchback in India.
2. In developed markets such as India, the Punto could motor on as a cut price variant with the replacement model getting an upmarket push. In the Indian car market, we’ve seen this strategy play out multiple times across multiple car makers.
For instance, Ford has rebadged the previous-generation Fiesta as the Classic and repositioned it lower down the price chain and the same has happened in the case of the i10, which now sits below the Grand i10, which is its replacement model.
The second scenario seems more likely as far as the Indian market is concerned as Fiat is planning hop up parts for the current Grande Punto through the Abarth route. Pulling out the Punto altogether might not be the best bet when it comes to brand loyalty and Fiat is one brand whose fans have continued to stay with it through thick and thin, at least in the Indian context.