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First drive: Fiat Panda

FCA Group saw Europe's largest gain in market share during 2016


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Fiat is urging its dealers to redouble their efforts as part of a campaign to boost sales of small cars this year.

The Italian company wants its outlets to achieve 9,900 registrations of its latest Panda city model over the next 10 months – 3,500 more than their performance for the whole of last year with the outgoing car.

It is also asking its 154-strong sales network to match the 2011 Punto volume of 8,500 units despite continued tough trading conditions.

“Our main focus is to get our dealers to step up their act. Times are difficult, but I think the economic situation works in favour of smaller, more frugal models.

“In many respects, the latest Panda is the right product for the current situation,” said Fiat Group Automobiles UK senior product manager Rob Lake.

Just two months into his post after leaving Suzuki, Lake is keen for the third-generation Panda to secure some of the showroom success of the Fiat 500, the UK’s A-segment leader with 24,500 registrations last year.

“The Panda is currently eighth in the segment and I believe we can do better with a model that retains all the functionality that has won it 6.5 million global sales since it first appeared in 1980 but now features a more stylish and emotive design.

"We believe this is a car that can appeal to everybody and as well as retaining our older customers, it has the potential to attract a wider audience,” he said.

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