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Published on March 30th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Fiat Viaggio Could Be A Winner Here In Malaysia

Fiat will debut the Viaggio compact sedan (which will be based on the Dodge Dart pictured above and below) at the Beijing auto show next month and start producing the car in China in July. The first model from Fiat’s joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group is crucial to the Italian automaker’s plan to grow beyond Europe, where car sales are expected to decline for the fifth consecutive year. Fiat aims to boost its sales in China to 300,000 by 2014 from fewer than 1,500 last year. Fiat’s new franchise holder in Malaysia could benefit from a handsome car like this when they start operations here.

Fiat so far has failed to gain a foothold in the world’s largest auto market, which is expected to grow another 8 percent in 2012 after exceeding 13 million passenger-car sales last year. No Fiat models have been produced in China since the automaker’s joint venture with Nanjing Automotive failed in 2007. The Viaggio (the Italian word for journey) is a rebadged version of the Dodge Dart, which is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. At 4670mm long and 1830mm wide, the Viaggio is about the same size as the Ford Focus sedan which is about to arrive in Malaysia this June 2012.

Fiat S.P.A. owns Alfa and has a 58.5 percent stake in Dodge parent Chrysler Group. The Viaggio will be made at Fiat and Guangzhou Auto’s new factory in the Changsha Economic Zone in Hunan province. The partners plan an initial annual capacity of 140,000 vehicles. That number is expected to rise quickly to 250,000. In China, the Viaggio will be powered by locally built normally aspirated and turbocharged versions of Fiat’s 1.4-liter petrol engine. Fiat and Guangzhou’s joint venture powertrain plant, which is also in the Changsha Economic Zone, is forecast to have an initial volume of 220,000 engines a year. Fiat also plans to launch a hatchback version of the Viaggio in China. That car could be exported to Europe to replace the slow-selling Bravo compact hatchback.

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