Then and now: how does Fiat´s present engine range compare to that of 2004? And are they making use of the engines available from Chrysler?
Today we are asking “How bad is it exactly for Fiat, in real terms?”. A vibrant company puts effort into engines if only to confuse punters and gain sales. But it can also offer a better match between the car and the complicated needs of the hundreds of millions of potential buyers. If you have a car with just one or two engines for it then it´s a safe bet there are 78 million people who simply won´t consider that vehicle. Think of the Bravo, for example.
Looking back first, let´s see how hot Fiat was a decade ago. In January 2004 Fiat (in the UK) sold seven different passenger vehicles: the Seicento, Punto, and Stilo hatchbacks, the Barchetta roadster, the Doblo family van, the Multipla MPV and the Ulysse (a body shared with PSA and Lancia). Propelling that lot around Fiat had eleven or thirteen different engines, depending on how you count them. Most burned petrol and the power range started at 54 bhp and rose to 170 bhp. The biggest motor came in the form of the 2.4 20-valve unit which was offered in the Punto Abarth but not on the bigger bodied Stilo or Ulysse.
And now the “now” part. As Eoin has been carefully documenting elsewhere here, things are not so excellent in the Fiat empire. FCA have just moved their legal address to London (and with barefaced cheek the chairman John Elkann said this was great news for Milan). This move will save FCA a bit in corporate taxes, no doubt, and help expedite the wind-up process that´s due any year now. Now, how badly are Fiat cars doing on the engine front? Have they made use of Chrysler´s stock of engines?
As of today, a look at Fiat´s (German) website, turns up nine bodies and thirteen engines (depending on how you count). First, the body count is inflated as some of those car bodies are not solely Fiat´s. The Qubo is shared with PSA. Chrysler uses the Freemont body elsewhere in the world. And Suzuki designed and made the Sedici. Opel sells the Doblo under its own name. Four from nine makes five bodies unique to Fiat. But it´s worse as the 500 L is spun off the same platform as the Grande Punto and Doblo. The way I count this, Fiat have two or three platforms and some bought-in or shared platforms they couldn´t manage to develop on their own.
The Grand Punto is supposedly a heartland car and has only five engines. For comparison, Ford in the Germany offers eight engines for the Fiesta. The Bravo, that game old stager, has but one engine, a 16V 120 PS diesel unit. That is quite some surprise if you consider what the Golf, Astra and Focus sell in engines alone. Then consider body variants – the Bravo is a five-door only car whereas the Golf is sold as 3 and 5-door and in estate and saloon guise too.
So, in essence the Bravo is a model on the way out. In 2004 the Bravo´s predecessor, the Stilo hatchback, was sold with five engines and even then that was fewer than the 2004 Focus (seven engines, but far more range in power outputs).
There´s a marked lack of Fiat diesel engines. I counted three and one of those is in the Freemont only. Of the nine petrol engines, three have only one application each, in the Sedici (a 1.6 16-valve), the Doblo (a 2.0 16V) and the Freemont (another 2.0 litre unit which I think is a Chrysler device). If it´s not a Fiat unit then then they only have eight petrol engines of their own design. Make it seven engines then.
My colleague Sean elsewhere here offered the view that Ford, VW and Opel´s superfluity of engines was just meaningless choice. Most people could make do with two or three well-chosen ones, he suggested. Well, here we have a more limited range than even that. In the case of the Bravo there is no choice at all, just one lonely diesel. Most of the vehicles have three engines, with one model, the Qubo having six. By and large, Fiat´s diminished model range of five unique bodies and 12 engines means they are not even offering a simple choice of small, medium and large but sometimes just small, also small and a bit bigger. This won´t do. Not at all.
Respect due though to Fiat for explaining what the engines were for on their website. When you drag down the list on the configurator they do say quite clearly what the variants are supposed to do for the customer: is it a sporty, economical or standard engine on offer. I wish VW, Opel and Ford did that.
Finally, the answer to our second question is “no”. Fiat are not making use of Chrysler´s range of engines because they have no vehicle appropriate for those engines, with the single exception of the Freemont which is a rebadged Dodge Journey anyway.
Fiat Engine range August 2014 (source: http://www.Fiat.de)
1.2 8V mit 51 kW (69 PS)
0.9 8V twin-air turbo (85 and 105 PS),
1.4 16V Motor (77 and 95 PS and 120)
1.6 litre (90 and 105 PS)
1.6 16V (120 PS) Sedici only
2.0 16V (135 PS) Doblo only
2.0 litre with 170 and 280 PS Freemont only
1.3 16V MultiJet ( 75, 85, 95 PS)
1.6 16V MultiJet Motor (105 PS, 120 PS).
a 2.0-MultiJet-II (140 PS) (170 PS) Freemont only
- Gas/Petrol engine
1.4 Natural Power (77 PS on petrol and 70 PS on gas)
1.4-16V-T-Jet-88-kW (120 PS)
Fiat Engine line-up January 2004 (source Car, Jan. 2004)
1.1 litre with 54 bhp,
1.2 litre 8-valve (60 bhp),
1.2 litre 16-valve (70 and 80 bhp),
1.3 litre multijet (70 bhp),
1.4 with (95 bhp)
1.8 HGT (130 bhp)
1.6 16-valve (103 and 115 bhp
1.8 16-valve (130 and 133 bhp)
2.0 16V (136 bhp)
2.4 20V offering 170 bhp.
1.9 multijet (100 bhp)
1.9 JTD (80, 85 bhp and 115 bhp)
2.0 JTD (109 bhp)
2.2 JTD (128 bhp)