TURIN – Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne said the automaker is considering selling hybrids in Europe. His comment adds weight to a remark by a local Italian politician that the company will soon launch minivans with a fuel-saving alternative powertrain.
Speaking at Fiat's annual shareholders meeting in Turin on Friday, Marchionne declined to elaborate further on hybrids, saying only that the company will announce its future products when it unveils its 2010-2014 business plan on April 21.
Earlier on Friday, Piedmont region governor Mercedes Bresso said Marchionne told her that Fiat will build hybrid variants of the five- and seven-seat minivans that will replace the Idea and Multipla models.
Bresso said the hybrid minivans would be built at the Mirafiori plant in Turin where Fiat has already said it will produce the new minivans with conventional engines starting in late 2011.
Automakers are launching gasoline- and diesel-electric hybrids as well as full-electric vehicles in Europe to meet a growing demand for fuel-efficient models and to help them comply with tougher EU regulations on fleet CO2 emissions that start to take effect in 2012.
Volkswagen has just introduced its first gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, which is on the Touareg premium SUV. Next year, PSA/Peugeot Citroen will introduce diesel-electric hybrids starting with the 3008 medium minivan.
Fiat has not said whether it plans gasoline- or diesel-electric hybrids.
Fiat has had the lowest average fleet CO2 emissions of all companies selling cars in Europe for the past three years, according to UK-based market researched JATO Dynamics.
The automaker has focused on engine technology such as its Multiair variable valve timing system to boost fuel efficiency and lower CO2 output.
No Fiat electric car for Europe
Marchionne said it was very unlikely that Fiat will sell an electric version of its 500 minicar in Europe.
Chrysler Group said last week that it will sell an electric Fiat 500 in the United States starting in 2012.