Fiat Viaggio, the Chinese version of Dodge Dart became the first locally assembled car from Fiat portfolio last year after it was unveiled at Beijing International Auto Show. The Italian automaker has been looking forward to set a strong foothold in the Asian markets to counterbalance the steady sales decline in the European market. The efforts to extend its footprint included launching of new models for the Korean and Chinese markets and also reconsidering its joint venture with Tata Motors in India. The new offering from the Italian carmaker is totally different in appearance from its Dodge siblings and boasts of unique blend of sophistication and technology, beautifully adorned in Italian design and showing unique blend of power, vehicle dynamics and fuel efficiency. The sedan is being produced jointly by Fiat and its Chinese partner Guangzhou Automobile Company and is basically available in two engine variants; a 1.4L turbojet engine producing 120hp and 206Nm of torque and the other 1.4L turbojet engine churning out 150hp and 230Nm of peak torque. The engine is en-suited with Fiat’s latest generation five-speed manual or a dual clutch automatic transmission gearbox depending on the choice of variant.Fiat has not ruled out exporting this model to other Asian markets but for time being it is only assembled in Chinese province.
This Italian beauty is aesthetically designed inside and out. The overall length and breadth of the car has been inherited from the parent platform and structural design upon which it is based. It is undoubtedly derived from the CUSW architecture created for the world best-selling Alfa Romeo Giuletta and contains timeless and clean surfaced expressive exterior design elements that blend with strong proportions. The C-pillar of the sedan facilitates a sleek silhouette with abundance presence of chrome details. It replaces Dart’s moniker and hair grille with a new rounded mouth-like opening. The modest grille design looks classy at first glance but overall front fascia has taken minimal inspiration from Dart. Taillights at the rear are placed separately in two units instead of the full width design. Fiat Viaggio is tweaked to bring forth a class-leading driving experience without compromising on comfort for the occupants. Totaling 4,679 mm in length and 1,850 mm overall width and along with 2,708 mm wheelbase, Fiat Viaggio is the new C-segment benchmark for the Chinese market. The aluminum made 10 spoke 16inch alloy wheels make it distinctive in its class. The interiors are characterized keeping in mind driving centric philosophy. The Dodge Dart which has been termed as a boy racer’s dream car, Fiat Viaggio on the other hand is a gentleman’s ride. The interiors are filled with beige and brown colors as against Dodge’s black-red outlining.The cabin is well decorated and center console which has a floating island bezel is integrated with features of a modern car like multifunctional dashboard, 3.5 inch electronic information display screen, an 8.4 inch touchscreen media center. Viaggio is also blessed with three-spoke steering wheel mounted with audio controls. Rear AC vents are present to keep the occupants cool. Five people can easily accommodate inside the car with enough legroom for the passengers to feel a sigh of relief during journey. Safety features includes dual front airbags with four side airbags for additional safety, Anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brakeforce System and engine immobilizer etc. Moreover, the car can be a show stealer with features like Hill Start Assist System and Electronic Stability program found in SUVs.
As far as Chinese market is concerned, for now this China-exclusive model’s production number is set at around 1,40,000 and the Changsha based manufacturing unit has the potential to increase this number up to 2,50,000 as global launch is slated in the near future. This car is placed in the most competitive C-segment in China targeting potential young customers who have passion for driving and are the backbone of Chinese economy.Even further, company is considering a hatch and an SUV on the same platform to expand its market base. As reported several times, Fiat Viaggio would certainly face towards Indian and other potential markets where success chances are high. Currently it is getting good response from the Chinese consumers and is priced between 188,800 Yuan (INR 9.54 lakhs) and 158,800 Yuan (INR 13.92 lakhs).
Fiat will showcase its mobility technology in China for the first time at the 2012 Care and Rehabilitation Exposition being held in Beijing, China. The exposition was first held in 2007 and has rapidly developed into an industry-leading event; the event is focused on discovering and finding new solutions to assist disabled Chinese in their daily life. The 2012 Expo has attracted and confirmed over 240 exhibitors from 16 different countries, and has set aside over 11,000 square meters of space for attendees. The exposition is sponsored by China Disabled Persons' Federation and National Ageing Committee and also has the strong support of the Chinese Ministry of Health and ten other key central Chinese ministries.