Fleet News

Fiat plans plastic cars

FIAT is poised to usher in the bold new era of the plastic car before the end of the decade. Fiat featured a plastic-bodied concept as star attraction and the rustproof and damage-resisting bodywork of the Ecobasic sub-compact has potential for large-scale production, claimed exterior design chief Roberto Giolito.

'We're working toward the day when the plastic car is a reality. We are studying this project very seriously - it's a radical change for the company but one we feel is possible by 2007. 'If it does happen, it is likely that the factory will produce a basic structure for the retailer to complete and customise to meet the needs of each individual customer.'

In an intermediate move, many of the features used in the Ecobasic will be adopted for the Panda replacement model, due in 2003. Fiat has forecast that a production Ecobasic could cost as little as £4,500. Power would come from a 1.2-litre common rail turbodiesel engine. 'Then our plan is to move on toward producing another small car in 2007 - and by that time, we think we will be able to use the same construction technology suggested by the Ecobasic in series production,' Giolito said.

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