'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.