FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne Plans On Replacing Diesel Fiats With Hybrid Models

As the times change, so must FCA. Or so it seems. 

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat SpA, speaks during an interview at the Italian auto maker's joint venture plant with Guangzhou Automobile Corp (GAC) in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan province, Thursday June 28, 2012. Fiat-Chrysler APAC announced the start of production of the Fiat Viaggio at the GAC-Fiat’s joint venture facility in China. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT
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Sergio Marchionne apparently wants no part of diesels in the future. With the development of hybrid technologies coming into full swing, the FCA CEO has a change of plans for the small city cars of the Fiat brand. In a recent interview with AutoExpressMarchionne told all on the subject and what the future holds for one of the group's most significant companies.

"There are very few things that are certain in this market - apart from one, and that is that small displacement diesels are dead. I think everything else is fair play, so we'll experiment," says Marchionne. That doesn't leave much room for questioning as it shows his stance on diesel's relevancy in today's market.

Fiat

This means that the Fiat 500 will soon undergo a significant shift. The current European model features a 1.3L turbo diesel to squeeze every bit of fuel economy they can, but as Marchionne has since shown, that is on its way out. Instead, it will be replaced with a 48-volt hybrid powertrain to satisfy the needs of MPG and emissions. "I think hybrids are inevitable," Marchionne says. "The question is not the technology, it's a question of the cost and whether the consumer will pay. We will have to play with a variety of solutions." It seems as if Fiat has solved the problem of cost with this "mild" hybrid system, bringing the full effect of hybrid fuel economy with minimal costs.

We expect this variant to show up in the U.S., too. After all, many city cars are making the move to hybrid systems and all-electric powerplants. This would put the Fiat 500 in a unique American segment, one that can always use a dose of healthy competition.