RAPALLO, Italy -- Total orders for the new Fiat Panda have jumped to 230,000 from 180,000 a month ago, the head of the Fiat and Lancia brands Gianni Coda said on Monday.
Fiat SpA launched the van-like Panda in September as the first of a new fleet of cars it is pumping out in seeking to reverse the sales slump that dragged the Italian automaker to a record loss in 2002.
By the end of last year, Fiat had taken 120,000 orders for the tall mini. It aims to sell 180,000-200,000 Pandas this year.
Coda also said orders for the Lancia Ypsilon, which went on sale at the same time as the Panda, had risen to 86,000 from 72,000 when Fiat last gave figures in mid-May.
Orders for the new mini-MPV Fiat Idea, which went on sale in January, have now reached 51,000, up from 41,000 in May and against a 2004 sales target of 100,000-120,000.
Coda was speaking at the launch of a new, smoothed-out version of the large Fiat Multipla people carrier, which goes on sale on June 26 and cost 45 million euros ($55.44 million) to develop.
New Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, who started at the industrial group on Monday, would meet the top managers from core car unit Fiat Auto on Tuesday, Coda said.
"He wants to get to know Fiat Auto well ... and know the people working at the company. That's pretty normal," he told reporters.