The Grande Punto, the new Fiat that aims to repeat the historical success of the previous model, without following in its footsteps, makes its debut in Turin. Although in theory the car belongs to segment B, its size, equipment and characteristics actually represent an alternative to many segment C cars.
The Grande Punto is therefore unique in the world panorama, designed and built to be the new benchmark in stylistic terms, introducing a concept of larger 'dimensions'. The model also reaches safety and quality standards that are particularly high for its segment, it offers the best range of diesel engines and, finally, it has a very competitive price/content ratio. As a result of all these features, the Grande Punto interprets three fundamental qualities, beauty, solidity and brilliance in a highly original way.
The result is a car that embodies the passion, and the styling and construction capabilities of a brand that was founded over a century ago. Because this is part of the brand's genetic make-up, together with the work and professional pride of thousands of people - technicians, blue collars and managers - who have worked in its plants and offices, and on the race track, over the years. It contains the roots of the inimitable personality that ensure that we immediately recognise a Fiat among all the cars we see on the road. There has always been a Fiat car for the people who first discovered the car as an irreplaceable means of individual mobility, and then learned to appreciate cars that are beautiful, reliable and enjoyable to drive, but above all at an accessible price. And the Grande Punto is no exception; in fact it sets new styling, safety and comfort parameters for this category, where the world's best manufacturers are all vying for space. Suffice it to say that the compact segment represents 26% of the Western European car market, in other words, the 'core' of the market, with about 3,750,000 cars sold a year. This is even more the case in Italy, where this category accounts for 37% of the market, made up 56% of petrol engines and 44% of diesels.
In order to achieve and maintain the lead in this market bracket, the Grande Punto must make a real leap forward in conceptual terms. Only a few years ago, a car with these dimensions, comfort and equipment would have been considered a 'family car', and certainly not a compact.
Which is why only a brand like Fiat could have swept away the classic categories to dictate times and methods, once again setting trends and imposing concepts and innovative solutions. The latest arrival from Fiat takes a generation leap forward compared to the previous model, as the Punto did in relation to the Uno when it was launched in 1993, and the Uno did in relation to the 127. The name lives on, as a wonderful legacy of a car that has been appreciated by 6 million customers with different tastes, ages, nationalities and social extraction.
The three winning qualities of the new model
Developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro together with the Fiat Style Centre, the styling of the Grande Punto stands out in the current automotive scene for the beauty of the exterior line, which is modern, elegant and distinctly 'Italian', a 'Mediterranean' stylistic language where the tapered rounded lines seem to be inspired by the sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s. Like the exterior, the interior of the Grande Punto represents the most evolved expression of Italian styling, thanks to the quality of the materials and the care that went into every detail. The result is a luminous, welcoming, functional environment.
This is a car created to 'excite', but also to express the solidity that comes from superb quality standards. This is borne out by extremely high safety standards, attention to detail that is unusual in this market bracket, and exceptional comfort. This impression is confirmed by the car's external dimensions which put it at the peak of its category: it is 403 cm long, 168 cm wide, 149 cm high and has a wheelbase of 2.51 metres, measurements which translate into an extraordinary amount of interior roominess. The Grande Punto is clearly a car of superior quality: from the very first stages of the project, the team working on it pursued very high quality standards, drawing on a stringent engineering process, based on a very strong platform, while it applied the most advanced, innovative reliability methodologies throughout the model's development and industrialisation.
And finally, the Grande Punto is agile and enjoyable to drive in all situations. A brilliance derived primarily from its engines, which combine excellent performance, low fuel consumption and absolute respect for the environment (they are all Euro 4). There are two petrol engines (the 65 bhp 1.2 8v and the new 77 bhp 1.4 8v), and four turbodiesels (the 120 and 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet, the 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v and the new 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v with a variable geometry turbo).
'Value' as a key to success
In other words the stage seems set to repeat the market success of the previous model. A car's success is the result of a successful challenge, a flash of stylistic intuition sustained by studies into new fashion trends, customers' emerging needs and projections regarding market performance. In other words, a difficult recipe, which is then tested by the strictest judge: time. Real success lasts for years. This was evident with the Punto: from 1993 to the present day, over six million people in Europe have bought the car, and twenty-five international juries have rewarded it. Even though the Grande Punto makes its debut, manufacture and marketing of the Punto currently on the market will continue, with petrol, diesel and methane versions, and particularly advantageous offers.
Like the previous model, the Grande Punto plays the same trump card: listening to customers and making sure the product evolves to meet their needs. Consistent with the first and most important demand put forward by any customer who buys a car, the new model will offer 'value' above all. This has always been one of the strengths of the Fiat Punto, which has led its segment, one where a huge number of new cars have been launched in recent years. Competition is obviously fierce, ready to enter the fray with every means. But this model has never lost ground, competing at the highest levels and always offering an extra something: safety, value for money and a good performance/consumption balance, and constantly striving for innovation. This is of course Fiat's mission: an Italian company that builds cars with original styling and a wealth of intelligent solutions that are therefore capable of guaranteeing a better quality of everyday life. And today the Grande Punto takes up the baton with the precise goal of respecting this ideal commitment made to motorists.
The communications policy planned for this original model addresses a young, dynamic public using a fresh, immediate language. One result is the 'Mr. Dot' logo, a cheerful P-shaped pictogram which changes appearance according to the situation: from a driver to a little man on skis. There are 50 possible transformations, each with a different personality, the expression of the concept of "moving passion" that lies behind the Grande Punto project: if on one hand the new model represents the passion shown by Fiat and its employees for cars, speed and racing, on the other, it is also the spirit of a customer who is attracted by the values of beauty, dynamism, colour, passion and movement. 19 versions have been created, by combining 2 body types (3 or 5 doors), 4 outfits, 6 engines, 13 body colours and 12 types of interior, all at an interesting price. The Grande Punto is also 'great' because of its price, which is almost identical to that of today's Punto with the difference that, for the same investment, customers will enjoy a car at the peak of its category with lavish, cutting-edge equipment.
A precise response to every need
Styling, emotion, comfort, safety and a good price: these are the guidelines along which the Grande Punto was developed; a car created for young adults, the very young, new active women, and small modern families. To meet the requirements of this heterogeneous public, the Grande Punto proposes typically Italian styling, the symbol of character and refinement, in two bodies: a 3-door version that is more aggressive and dynamic, and will appeal above all to the young, and a 5-door version that exalts the balance between styling and comfort, performance and safety, access and its distinctive look.
Both versions share a broad, comprehensive range with four specification levels, each capable of satisfying different customers who share the same youthful, dynamic spirit. The Active outfit addresses the younger driver, people full of vitality with an open, flexible mentality; the Dynamic version is the right response for those who combine an emotional and a rational approach, while the Grande Punto Emotion is ideal for the motorist who is looking for the equipment of a higher category and excellent comfort in a compact. And finally, the Sport version will certainly appeal to customers who want excellent performance and distinctive styling features.
So it is not exaggerated to state that everyone will find the Grande Punto he is looking for, customising it with the many options on offer, and taking advantage of the innovative financial and insurance services created specifically, and the many interesting accessories available from Lineaccessori. Nor can we overlook the fact that other novelties are in the pipeline for the Grande Punto, where the engines and the info-telematic systems are concerned. One example? An amazing rally version which will be presented in a few days time at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.