The new Fiat Panda is the consistent evolution of an invention that in its 31-year history has always been likeable, versatile and easy to use. The Panda is all this and something more: a brand rich in strong rational and emotional value, a car of which more than 6.4 million units have been produced, and which has won 16 million drivers different from one another in terms of taste, age, nationality and background.
A best seller which has significantly contributed to the undisputed leadership of Fiat in this segment: from the first 600 to the 500, from the 126 to the first Panda, from the Cinquecento to the Seicento, from the second generation Panda (2003) to the new 500 launched in 2007. Fiat has always been the point of reference of the city-car segment in Europe due to its unrivalled expertise developed in the continental cities.
The third generation of the Fiat Panda model springs forth from this technical and human heritage. It comes of age offering more quality in terms of space, comfort, functionality, technology and safety features. It combines the best features of the first- and second-generation cars. This intelligent vehicle is ideal for those wanting to combine the practical handling of a city car with the space and comfort of a five-door compact car. All this is further enhanced by a modern and harmonious look which exalts that pleasant appearance of the Panda that by now has become a part of our collective memory just like other objects resulting from Italian creativity, from the Fiat 500 to the Vespa Piaggio, Moka Bialetti and Cubo by Bruno Munari. Unique products that can neither be judged by their appearance nor just represent a good engineering exercise. Instead they are powerful alchemies, innovative in their design and concept that redefine the common points of reference and comparison. When this happens, essential masterpieces in the history of industry are born. The Fiat Panda is one of these.
Fiat Panda is the byword for substance, practicality and usefulness. There is a concept of beauty connected to making all of this visible and perceptible, a concept pursued throughout the new Panda design procedure. Now at its third generation, the Panda is improving each of its elements both functionally and in attention to detail. The result is of great overall harmony, due to applying signs consistent with one another that increases its usability and pleasing design values.
In seeking a higher and more perceptible value, design sets out to create a true sentimental value between car and user such as to make using the new Panda every day more rewarding. This is why lines of thought on how to alter the Fiat Panda’s concept were not followed. Instead, Centro Stile Fiat designers put themselves in the shoes of the customer to try to understand how the car could have even better portrayed the combination of utility and an even bolder personality. The end result is a car brimming in sparkling personality and value, one that combines the outstanding reputation of a timeless model with amazing quality up to the very last detail.
The new Fiat Panda conveys freshness and appeal in addition to a strong “Italian style” that makes it instantly recognisable from the very first glance. That is due to a few “anthropomorphic” traits of its front. The slightly convex bonnet joins with the elegant horizontal grille and the new front headlamps with a rounded shape that bring to mind a smiling face extending an invitation to take a spin light-heartedly and cheerfully. The same aesthetic elements also express the family feeling of the latest Fiat models, and in particularly stress their bond with the other successful city car heir of an icon of international motoring, the new 500.
The designers added a touch of personality to this “human” stamp to make it a solid and reassuring car that is roomier than what is expected from a model of this size. The passenger compartment is designed as a single, comfortable space to increase quality of life on board, even for children. Proof of that is the parcel shelf that turns into a useful rigid platform for placing toys and – something new in the segment – a few graphic patterns decorating the door panels and roof of the car, in this way creating an attractive “sky” over the heads of the tiny passengers. In this same way the radio interface sports a pleasant and intuitive look, quite similar to the last-generation portable consoles. All controls and buttons are grouped into two islands so they are easier for the driver to use.
The new Panda has been created drawing inspiration from the most up-to-date trends. It proposes an elegant restyling of the exteriors with smooth and rounded lines on a volume of regular form so the available space is used effectively. The absence of corners conveys solidity and emphasizes the welcoming and protective “shell” nature of the passenger compartment. The rounded shapes of the exterior also combine aesthetic and aerodynamic features so that the Cx is lowered to 0.32, one of the best in this market segment.
The side view has several distinctive features of the second-generation Fiat Panda, starting with the third window, now with softened angles in harmony with the softer shape of the exteriors, which creates the effect of an uninterrupted glazed surface up to the vertical rear light clusters. Among other things, the light clusters arranged higher up improve lighting and reduce the possibility of damage in case of minor knocks. Unlike the second-generation Panda, the front light clusters continue down the side to give the exterior volumes an additional three-dimensional effect.
Smooth and rounded shapes also distinguish the bumper strips on the bumpers and side panels that not only pay tribute to the first generation Fiat Panda, but also play an essential protective role in protecting the body in the city and accentuate the “all-terrain” look of the model also accompanied by the marked wheel arches. It is a new design language that evolves, taking the concept of robustness to the extreme. This is confirmed by many interior and exterior details, such as the door handles of a more substantial visual and tactile shape.
Moreover, the side windows are designed to maximise a few performance aspects. The upper line of the windows improves outward visibility and accessibility to the car, while the low waistline gives a feeling of greater control of the surrounding environment, increasing the perception of safety behind the wheel.
Finally, as on the current model, the lower section of the tailgate protrudes with respect to the rear window. Combined with the side line, this gives a distinct impression of a roof panel resting on the bodywork. Then the third window is positioned to improve visibility from an angle which is usually very difficult to check to guarantee greater safety for both those outside and inside the car.
Offered with five doors and with the comfort of a higher segment, the new Fiat Panda proves it is a true super-compact that with its super efficiency is able to combine the smaller size outside with amazing volume inside. Even though it is just 365 centimetres long, 164 wide, 155 high and has a wheelbase of 230 centimetres, the new car can accommodate up to five people and has one of the most spacious boots of its segment: 225 litres which become 260 with the sliding rear seat in the fully forward position and 870 litres with the backrest of the rear seats folded down.
The Fiat Panda offers maximum freedom of use with its roomy, functional and comfortable passenger compartment that is in no way inferior to that of cars of a higher class. Besides, flexibility has always been one of the model’s strong points, as the new dashboard, various seat configurations and large number of storage compartments demonstrate.
First of all, the new dashboard is designed as a practical multipurpose shell containing a roomy storage “pocket”, just like that of the first series of the model, which becomes the perfect place for stowing everything you want in total freedom… even in “cheerful and democratic” untidiness if you want. Added to that is the more classic glovebox stored in the lower part of the dashboard.
In detail, the dashboard is wrapped up in a colourful frame, without interruptions, which serves as a single perimeter to the steering wheel, radio and main controls, and that houses the vents. Also in this case there is a return to the first generation Panda, where the elements were tightened to the fabric “pouch”, which constituted the main part of the dashboard.
There is also something new for the seats, which confirm the flexibility of the model. The driver’s seat is also available with height adjustment, whereas the front passenger seat can be fitted with a backrest that folds down to form a table. The table function provides a surface for placing both objects of common use, such as a bag or a laptop, and for oversize loads. If the rear seats are also lowered, the customer can get a flat boot platform extending over the entire length of the passenger compartment (over 2 metres) so that the interior space is used to the utmost.
The rear seat ensures the same versatility. It is available in the standard 2-seater version with fold-down split backrest or, upon request, in the configurations: 2 seats sliding longitudinally with fold-down 50/50 split backrest, 3 seats with fold-down backrest and 3 seats with fold-down 60/40 split backrest. It can all be made even more functional if combined with the handy and useful cargo box that when placed in the boot can both hold several objects inside and offer an all but flat loading space.
Maximum functionality is also found in the slim front seats. This technology is applied here for the first time at Fiat. It simultaneously ensures more leg space for the rear passengers, greater flexibility – the seat travel distance is 21 centimetres and vertical adjustment is 6 cm – and enhanced seat comfort thanks to their comfortable and embracing shape. What’s more, the “squares” electrically welded to the backrest perform the important task of guaranteeing air passage between the passenger’s back and the seat fabric to improve comfort, especially during the warmer months.
In the same way the door panel was designed with the idea of freeing space in mind. The speaker in the panel has been raised to make the pocket wider and improve sound quality. Upholstery has been extended to the maximum to improve comfort.
Another new stylistic and functional innovation is the special shape of the parking brake which comes out of the desire to optimise the space of the console. Its small longitudinal dimensions allow the space in front of and behind the lever to be exploited in addition to clearing space for use directly underneath it.
To guarantee comfortable and distraction-free driving, in keeping with tradition the gear lever of the Fiat Panda is in a raised position in the centre of the dashboard, very close to the steering wheel. The steering wheel is perfectly round on the outside to make it easy to turn and square on the inside to improve grip and provide maximum instrument panel visibility.
The 14 storage compartments in the Fiat Panda are not just abundant and capacious: they are designed and conceived according to those who use the Panda every day for everyday items. There are open compartments which are easy to reach into for frequent use and closed, more concealed compartments for objects that are usually left in the car. One new feature is the glasses holder located above the driver’s window.
Lastly, the new Fiat Panda offers the innovative “Smart fuel system” that replaces the classic cap and that is fitted to the end of the fuel filler pipe. Filling up is one of those operations which has not developed in step with automotive technology. The new car takes a leap forward with this feature, which automatically opens and closes when the pump is put inside and removed, so refuelling is easier and safer since it reduces gas emissions and fuel overflow. The new “Smart fuel system” also solves the problem of “misfuelling” as it does not allow petrol to be pumped into a diesel powered car or vice versa.
In short, the new Panda is a car sure to continuously surprise owing to its ability to transform itself according to the situation and adapt to the needs of whoever uses it, driver or passenger as the case may be. What’s more, offering original style, advanced technology accessible to everyone, and smart solutions that simplify and improve life on board is in Fiat’s DNA.
Today whoever chooses a compact car does not want to forgo the technology found on higher segment cars. The new Fiat Panda is able to reconcile these needs with the need for sustainable and safe mobility, accessible in terms of price and running costs. Thus it combines the best features of the first- and second-generation cars. This is a new intelligent solution especially in such uncertain economic times.
Specifically, behind that fun and confident appearance, the Fiat car offers sophisticated technological solutions which are nonetheless straightforward to use and satisfy both the concrete needs of everyday mobility as well as the growing social awareness of the environment and safety issues. So Fiat is raising the bar to prove that it is leading the technological evolution of the super-compact segment, a segment where a large part of history carries its name: from the first 600 to the 500, from the 126 to the first Panda, from the Cinquecento to the Seicento, from the second generation Panda (2003) to the new 500 launched in 2007. There has always been a Fiat city car near the people, and now it is the Fiat Panda’s turn once again.
To guarantee the protection of the passengers, the new Panda combines a body designed according to the most modern criteria with active and passive safety content that ensures its optimum performance, so much so as to be at the top of its category.
The safety performance was designed by the designers and the Fiat Safety Centre after examining all possible types of collisions: front and side impacts, roll-over, pile-up and collisions with pedestrians. Various speeds at which impact may occur were also taken into consideration as well as different types of obstacles and different types of occupants with greatly varying physical characteristics.
To guarantee the protection of the occupants, the new Fiat Panda offers 4 airbags standard (front and window protecting the head), ABS complete with B.A.S. (Brake Assist System), front seat belts with pretensioner and load limiter. Depending on the markets and versions, the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) complete with Hill Holder system that aids the driver in uphill starts while keeping the brake locked for about 2 seconds, in this way making starting off easier, is also available standard or as an option.
Special attention has been devoted to the seats. Those in front are equipped with an anti-whiplash system that reduces the risk of whiplash in case of impact, while those in back are fitted with isofix attachments for child seats and headrests. Completing the equipment of the new model are front headlamps with daytime running lights.
Lastly, the new “Low Speed Collision Mitigation” system deserves an in-depth look. It will become available after the launch. It is an innovative active safety feature capable of recognising obstacles in front of the car and of braking automatically when the driver fails to avoid the collision. Depending on certain parameters (road surface conditions, dynamics and trajectory of the vehicle, position of the obstacles, condition of the tyres, etc.), the intervention of the LSCM system can avoid impact completely (“Collision Avoidance”) or minimise the consequences of a possible impact (“Collision Mitigation”).
The sophisticated device of the new Panda integrates three added functions: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Prefill and Brake Assist. The former, while respecting the driver’s wishes and leaving full control of the car in his/her hands, is triggered by emergency braking after carefully assessing the position and speed of the obstacles, the speed of the vehicle (below 30 km/h), lateral acceleration, the steering angle and pressure on the accelerator pedal and its variation. The Prefill function, on the other hand, prefills the braking system in order to allow prompter response both when the Automatic Emergency Braking system is triggered as well as when the driver brakes. Brake Assist instead recognises emergency situations and alters the brake pedal’s response to get even quicker braking in emergency situations.
The system is based on a laser sensor installed in the windscreen that “communicates” with the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system.
Based on the same principle as those used in astronomy to measure distances between satellites, the laser sensor detects the presence of obstacles in front of the vehicle when certain alignment conditions be present: the overlapping of the car and obstacle must be more than 40% than the width of the vehicle while the angle of impact must be less than 30°.
The control unit of the LSCM system is designed to activate automatic braking, following a request by the laser sensor, in addition to being designed to request a reduction in the torque from the engine control unit if the accelerator pedal has not been released. Lastly, the control unit keeps the car braked for 2 seconds after stopping, to allow the driver to resume normal driving safely.
The goal of the LSCM system is to guarantee maximum safety in all conditions of use, so in certain conditions such as unfastened seatbelts, icy roads or reversing, different triggering logics are activated.
The Fiat Panda is a substantial car that boasts cutting-edge engines in terms of both performance and fuel consumption and emissions. Combined with 5-speed gearboxes, standing out amongst the engines in the range are the brand new twin-cylinders with Start&Stop system supplied standard: the 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo, named “International Engine of the Year 2011”, and the 65 HP 0.9 aspirated TwinAir, being fitted for the first time (not sold in Italy). The renewed 69 HP 1.2 Fire petrol engine and the 75 HP 1.3 Multijet II, with Start&Stop supplied standard, complete the range of engines.
Later the new Fiat Panda range will be expanded with the Dualogic automatic robotized transmission combined with the TwinAir engine, the 80 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo Natural Power (petrol/methane) and 69 HP 1.2 EasyPower (petrol/LPG) bifuel engines that attest to the constant attention Fiat Automobiles pays to the environmental topics through its research and development of immediately accessible solutions.
85 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo
First of a new family of two-cylinder engines developed by Fiat Powertrain, this 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine develops 85 HP (63 kW) at 5500 rpm of full power and a torque of 145 Nm at 1900 rpm (constant up to 3000 rpm). Moreover, if you prefer to prioritise the green aspect and lower fuel consumption, you can press the ECO key on the dashboard to limit torque to 100 Nm at 2000 rpm. This engine records 4.2 litres/100 km and CO2 emission equal to 99 g/km in the combined cycle.
A real jewel of engine design, the brilliant two-cylinder employs the revolutionary MultiAir technology developed and patented by Fiat Powertrain which was introduced in 2009. The heart of MultiAir is a new electro-hydraulic valve management system that reduces fuel consumption by controlling air directly via the inlet valves (without using the throttle). MultiAir reduces polluting emissions (thanks to its improved combustion control) and also considerably improves performance by boosting driveability. Indeed, compared to a traditional petrol engine of equal displacement, MultiAir engines guarantee an increase in power (up to 10%) and torque (up to 15%) in addition to a significant reduction in emissions of CO2 (up to 10%).
Elected “International Engine of the Year 2011”, the new TwinAir engine also takes the concept of downsizing to an extreme: by combining a small-sized engine with a next-generation turbocharger performance comparable to – or even better than – that of a larger engine is obtained but with less fuel consumption and lower emissions. Not only that, the turbo significantly increases the maximum torque, making it available at a very low rpm, with the result of offering greater flexibility and an unrivalled responsiveness compared to conventional aspirated engines. All this comes with a simple build to the benefit of strength and reliability.
The new engine has undergone a number of unit displacement optimisation and tuning interventions in terms of thermo-dynamic efficiency and fluid dynamic configuration.
Finally, special attention has been placed on the NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) aspect to ensure vibration performance with a characteristic sound. For this purpose, a balancing countershaft was used to maintain optimal vibration levels in all operating conditions of the engine, from idling speed to top power.
65 HP 0.9 aspirated TwinAir
The new Panda is the first Fiat Group Automobiles car to make its world debut in the “aspirated” version of the TwinAir engine that delivers maximum power of 65 HP (48 kW) at 6250 rpm and a torque of 88 Nm at 3500 rpm. All with a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – the values recorded in the combined cycle are 4.2 l/100 km and 99 g/km, respectively – and with performance comparable to engines of the same power.
One peculiarity of the new engine is the introduction of the second-generation MultiAir system that sets its sights on the goal of maximising combustion efficiency. This is thanks to an innovative profile of the intake cam bush and a new way to manage the valves, called “hybrid”. In detail, the new intake profile makes a pre-lift of the intake valve possible during the exhaust phase. In this way a part of the exhaust gases can flow into the intake duct to be re-aspirated during the following intake phase. In this way the so-called internal recirculation of exhaust gases (Internal EGR) is achieved, which further optimises combustion efficiency and therefore reduces fuel consumption. With the high degree of flexibility that distinguishes the MultiAir system, this new adjustment of the valves (called hybrid) can obviously be activated only where it is needed, and furthermore the amount of recirculated internal EGR can be totally modulated.
69 HP 1.2 Fire EVO II
The 69 HP 1.2 EVO II is the latest evolution of the FIRE family that boasts over 10 million units produced. Thanks to the continuous updates and its flexible architecture, this family of engines remains a point of reference in the category as use of the continuously variable valve timing unit shows, able as it is to optimize valve timing (opening and closing) at all engine speeds. In this way fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on the one hand are reduced (5.2 litres/100 km and 120 g/km, respectively); on the other, performance increases to ensure torque availability at low rpm (102 Nm at 3000 g/min) and power at high rpm (69 HP at 5500 g/min).
75 HP 1.3 Multijet II
With a view to respect for the environment coupled with driving satisfaction, the new Fiat Panda offers the 1.3 MultiJet II (Euro5) with DPF standard, which delivers a maximum output of 75 HP (55 kW) at 4000 rpm and a torque of 190 Nm at just 1500 rpm.
A masterpiece of technology in miniature – complete with all of its accessories, it weighs about 140 kg – the new turbodiesel is small in size: less than 60 cm long and less than 70 cm high, it boasts a component layout designed to take up less room. The compact and technologically sophisticated 1.3 Multijet II is also capable of outstanding performance.
Equipped with fixed geometry turbocharger with intercooler optimised for delivering torque at low speed, the 1.3 Multijet II records just 104 g/m of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption equal to 3.9 litres per 100 km in the combined cycle.
Belonging to the second generation of Multijet engines, this engine ensures economy, ecology and performance levels found nowhere else on the market. In contrast to the first generation of MultiJet engines, the fuel supply system is now equipped with faster injectors able to execute multiple injections in rapid succession. Specifically, the system can now perform a main modulated injection of fuel in several distinct phases and anticipate the ones that follow. The servo valve with balanced plunger of the MultiJet II system enables it to manage up to 8 injections per cycle, offering greater speed, flexibility and precision in the various phases of operation. The injector is also simpler and more reliable because its construction is less complex and it has 40% less components.
Thanks to the new type of injector, now strategies focused on optimizing the increasingly advanced combustion can be achieved, such as the Rate Shaping injection that involves two consecutive injections so close together in time as to generate a continuous and modulated profile of the fuel supply into the cylinders. With this method the combustion process is improved, all to the benefit of quieter operation and particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Today the Multijet II engines totally satisfy the Euro 5 standard and at the same time mark a decisive step toward stricter regulatory levels in the future.
Lastly, again in full respect for the environment, advanced exhaust gas treatment technologies have been used for the 75 HP 1.3 Multijet II, namely a Close Coupled Diesel Particulate Filter and a built-in EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system that improves control of temperature and gas flow, simultaneously guaranteeing lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption.
In addition to its agility and lively spirit, a true “city car” also needs to afford low fuel consumption and to respect the environment. In this context, the new Panda is unrivalled, owing to the implementation of a large number of systems designed to increase the vehicle’s dynamic efficiency: from Start&Stop to the Gear Shift Indicator (GSI), ecoDrive and the ECO mode of the TwinAir Turbo engine. Technical words which are now part of the standard terminology that Fiat has contributed to create and develop and which are now grouped together in “Air Technologies”, the new brand that identifies the low environmental impact technologies which team eco-friendliness with driving satisfaction.
All TwinAir petrol engines and the 75 HP 1.3 MultiJet II offer the Start&Stop device as standard. It switches the engine off temporarily and then restarts it in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Specially designed for driving in the city, the system automatically switches off the engine when traffic conditions require the vehicle to stop (red lights, tailbacks and temporary stops, for example), keeping all of the functions that guarantee comfort and safety on board active (lights, climate control system, radio and windscreen wipers).
Switching off the engine when the car is stopped prevents consuming fuel needlessly (up to -15% over an urban cycle), reduces emissions and improves acoustic comfort.
The device can be activated/deactivated using the button on the dashboard.
Gear Shift Indicator (GSI)
The Gear Shift Indicator (GSI) device is a genuine “co-pilot” which discreetly suggests to the driver the best time to change gear in order to minimise fuel consumption. For example, the GSI may suggest shifting up, by means of an indication on the control panel, to allow the engine to run at a lower speed or to downshift to make best use of the available torque.
To underscore the eco-compatibility qualities of the revolutionary 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine, cars which are equipped with this afford the opportunity to select an ecological operating mode by pressing an “ECO” button on the dashboard. This selection consists in a specific mapping which, by reducing the torque by 45 Nm (from 145 to 100 Nm), allows a less high-performance drive which focuses on minimising consumption (in addition, the invitations by the Gear Shift indicator to switch to a higher gear are multiplied).
The eco:Drive system is an easy to use “zero cost” solution that supports the driver in improving his or her driving efficiency and reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Indeed, eco:Drive is the first and only system able to offer drivers customised tips based on their driving style.
Using the eco:Drive application, available for download free of charge on the Fiat website (www.fiat.com/ecoDrive) teamed with the Blue&Me system, users can collect their driving information and store them on a USB storage device. When the USB storage device is inserted into their PC, the eco:Drive system sends the data to the Fiat server, which processes it to measure driving efficiency based on four parameters: acceleration, deceleration, gear shifts and speed.
The scores allocated for each of these four areas contribute to the definition of the eco:Index that summarises driving quality with a score from 1 to 100.
eco:Drivers receive personalised tips on how to improve their performance in each area and consequently their eco:Index. They can follow their progress in time, set goals and check their savings through an application on their own PC.
All eco:Drive users are part of eco:Ville, an on-line community that receives data on all the savings made through the commitment of eco:Drivers. To date, approximately 64,000 users have saved a total of 4300 tons of CO2 by improving the efficiency of their personal driving styles.
Available on a broad range of Fiat Group Automobiles cars and commercial vehicles, the software offers specific features to evaluate savings associated with the use of Start&Stop technology and CNG. In addition, eco:Drive Fleet is also available, a dedicated fleet version that allows companies and fleet managers to control fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – and consequently costs – for their company fleet.
With eco:Drive, Fiat therefore set out to think not only of its own products but also its own users by encouraging them to help reduce automotive transport-related emissions.
Despite its small size that makes it perfect in the city, once aboard the new Panda you will be amazed by the roominess of the passenger compartment and interior space… so much so you will feel more a guest than a simple passenger.
But the new Fiat Panda is able to do more. In fact it has all the properties of dynamism and comfort that allow it to easily tackle longer and tougher extra urban routes: driving ease, functional and ergonomic layout of controls and furnishings, a large number of storage compartments, and use of “slim” seats that improve accessibility and comfort for the rear passengers.
The high driving position, the gear lever in the centre of the dashboard and the large windows guarantee driver and passengers excellent visibility and mastery of the road. Lastly, the ergonomic position of the controls, the leg room and the abundant freedom of movement in the upper area of the passenger compartment all contribute to improved driving comfort.
Ergonomics and space at the highest levels
These days, people who choose a compact car don’t want to forgo the comfort they would find on larger cars, as they are used to the typical standards of comfort of superior segments and tend to refer to them. To achieve this objective, the designers worked according to the most modern ergonomic standards, in order to fulfil the criteria which measure a vehicle’s capacity to meet the requirements for on-board comfort and wellbeing. The final results of the new Panda are excellent in all key ergonomic areas: comfort, driving position, accessibility. Specifically, it boasts an improvement over the present Fiat Panda in terms of the main internal vertical (front +7 mm and rear + 4 mm) and side (front +26 mm and rear +5 mm) dimensions, placing it at the top of its class. Also thanks to the slim front seats that improve accessibility (front + 23 mm, rear + 6 mm), the practicality of the longitudinal space increases (+20 mm) to provide rear passengers with greater comfort.
The new Panda is a surprisingly big car. Among other things, this result was achieved without jeopardising the boot capacity, which is 225 litres (with fixed rear seat), which becomes 260 with the sliding seat in the fully forward position, gaining an additional 16 cm. Furthermore, 870 litres are reached with the rear seat backrest folded down. Compared to the second generation Fiat Panda, the boot volume is 10 litres larger (normal configuration), which turns into 36 litres when the rear seat is folded down.
Acoustic and climatic comfort
The Fiat Panda is a comfortable, roomy and quiet city car. The latter is a particularly important feature for a car because it improves the quality of life on board and helps the driver pay attention to the road, meaning safety. An entire series of devices aimed at effectively reducing all type of noise transmitted to the passenger compartment was used in designing the new Panda. For example, compared to the second generation the new Fiat Panda records a 4 dB reduction, which corresponds to half the intensity of the noise coming from the road and which guarantees a really quiet drive.
The new car features high torsional rigidity of the body (71,300 daNm/rad) that associated with specific targeted interventions allows excellent levels of compactness to be achieved, and is one of the strong points of the model.
In addition to the traditional heater and manual climate control, an efficient and rapid climate control system was chosen for the new Fiat Panda. It automatically controls the temperature, air flow, its distribution, compressor engagement and recirculation through an electronic control unit. Besides, the climate inside the passenger compartment is one of the principal factors for comfort when travelling and is also important for preventive safety, because comfort, humidity and ventilation all influence the wellbeing of the driver and therefore his/her level of attention. Not forgetting that the heating and ventilation system is also responsible for the defrosting of the windscreen and side windows.
Free and easy
The Fiat Panda shows it is brilliant and free and easy in its natural habitat: the city. Without a doubt that is due to its compact size and full range of engines added to which are the innovative chassis, the reliable and tested suspension layout now brought up to date to guarantee control and comfort at the top levels. Moreover, a turning cycle of 9.3 metres allows the new car to tackle the narrow streets of a city centre with ease.
Compared to the second generation, the new Panda offers an unprecedented front suspension with McPherson layout. It has been lightened and contributes to high level crash performance. It was lightened using a monocoque lower arm made of ultra-high resistance material, the first use in Europe for Chassis components, and a modular cross member made with low-thickness, high-resistance steel sheets. Ready for future applications, the cross member interfaces the so-called third load line to definitely improve crash performance during a high-speed and low-speed collision, pedestrian impact and insurance impact.
The new front suspension has a “split” type of shock absorber mounting that transmits the loads to the body through two different routes and therefore get better filtering of the road vibrations and improved acoustics compared to that of the current model owing to a dynamic stiffening of the lower tyre, at the same time guaranteeing top efficiency of the shock absorber thanks to an axial rigidity no less than the one today.
The front suspension also has a new stabilizer bar that improves its efficiency. The solution with connection to the suspension bar has been replaced with a connection solution of connecting rod on the shock absorber to maximize the anti-roll effect of the bar. In addition to efficiency, also the weight of the stabilizer bar has been optimized, again with equal anti-roll effect. Lastly, the bushes of the front suspension arm have been researched and designed to achieve ultimate comfort when driving and on bumpy roads, and have contributed to improving noise reduction also by attaining a dynamic stiffening lower than that of today.
The rear torsion axle suspension is fitted with a new bush larger than that of today’s Fiat Panda, which guarantees greater comfort on bumpy roads and improved noise insulation without detracting from road holding. The shape was studied to optimise absorption of the longitudinal bumps, without penalizing the other elastic property-kinematic performance aspects of the rear suspension.
The chassis of the new Panda also contains an innovative feature developed in keeping with two guidelines: safety and lightening car weight. In particular, as was done for the entire body, it was possible to reconcile these two performance aspects with extensive use of high-resistance materials (more than 70%), 11% of which with hot pressing technology, making it possible to increase the energy absorption capacity in both front and side impacts and at the same time lighten the structure.
Compared to the previous model, another innovative element is implementation of a third load line in the front structure that provides more effective control of deformations and loads in front impacts because of its ability to transfer the loads to the lower, more resistant part of the vehicle, thus reducing penetrations into the passenger compartment. The bolted parts also demonstrate the technical evolution of this platform, such as use of high-performance tempered steels for the front bumper crossmember and adoption of lightweight and resistant “noble” plastic materials (Xenoy) on the rear bumper crossmember.
Dualdrive electric power steering system with “city” function
The new Fiat Panda adds those devices that change life on board a car to these technical characteristics, like the electric Dualdrive power steering with “City” function. Standard on the entire range compared to the majority of systems on the market, the Fiat Panda Dualdrive offers the customer an added opportunity: that of choosing between two different calibration programs. The first ensures maximum feeling between driver and car. The latter, which is selected by pressing the “City” button, lightens steering and is ideal for city driving and parking manoeuvres. To guarantee maximum customer safety even when driving on roads at high speed forgetting that the “City” device is enabled, above 35 km/h, the “city” program disables and, as speed rises, power assistance drops back to therefore ensure greater driving precision and a steering wheel response which is appropriate for high speeds.
Communicating and travelling: that is what the ingenious Panda promises and upholds by offering both the first level Blue&MeTM system – including hands-free with Bluetooth® interface, sophisticated voice recognition, USB port, MP3 player and SMS interpreter – and, upon request, the latest development of the device, the “Blue&Me TomTom2 LIVE”.
As we have seen, the new Fiat Panda is marked by advanced flexibility and ease of use criteria, solutions and details almost maniacally researched as far as quality and reliability are concerned, overall design that puts the most highly advanced engineering at the service of convenience and immediacy of use, in addition to general safety and maintaining its value over time.
Such a design could only be manufactured in an equally advanced factory, one redesigned with the same criteria. In brief, a new Panda needed a new factory. This is why the new model is made in Pomigliano d’Arco, near Naples. The industrial area has been entirely refurbished for the event with new systems, particularly in the body-in-white and assembly sector, and an innovative “Quality Centre”. More than being simply the most advanced Fiat has, these new systems are also among the most advanced in the world.
The Giambattista Vico plant was brought to technological and organisational excellence in a record time of 12 months and with a total investment of Euro 800 million in both machinery and people, for whom to the present day 200 thousand hours of training have been put in.
From the technical viewpoint, the factory is equipped with highly automated production plants that ensure the New Panda high (process) quality standards and repeatability of the results over time.
A well-structured assessment program has been developed for the employees in order to always put the right person in the right place. Personalised training and educational plans have also been drawn up to improve the trade and the know-how.
The result of this course has generated skilled, well-integrated and motivated teams of people.
All of this makes it possible to achieve high product quality levels. This would not have been possible without four fundamental decisions.
The first was that of making a long-term strategic investment in Pomigliano on plants that today make a spacious class A car.
The second decision that made the difference was that of bringing forward research and problem-solving by making full use of virtual simulation of the production processes and relying on the possibility of designing the various processing phases along with the product. In this way the tables and computers of the FGA Research & Development people were put right inside the factory, in close contact with the line technologists (co-location).
The third decision was to start a network program dedicated to the new Fiat Panda to ensure maximum competitiveness in terms of innovation, production organisation and flexibility that contemplates collaboration between Fiat Group Automobiles and Fabbrica Italia Pomigliano, the company set up in Pomigliano with the task of making the new Panda cars and delivering them to FGA, which will market them and provide after-sales service to the customers.
The fourth trump played at Pomigliano, and no less important than the others, was the courage to believe in the potentials of the people by involving them in the industrialisation phase to set up and define the production cycles, workstations and new organisation. This decision created enormous enthusiasm in the workers, whose response took shape in about 8,500 suggestions going toward improving the workstations (and the process), safety, ergonomics, and product quality through solutions aimed at preventing errors.
When in full operation, the production volumes of the new Panda should be roughly 260 thousand units a year.
Some of the most innovative stages of the production process of the new Fiat Panda take place in Sheet-metal Working, a 99% automated department where more than 600 robots are in operation.
One of the most advanced systems is, for example, the body welding system made up of 80 latest-generation Comau “hollow wrist” robots (that give a total of 520 weld spots in just 30 minutes).
There are two side panel production lines at the sides of the body production line that make the system take on the shape of a butterfly, which has led to calling the system just that, “butterfly”.
This line is made up of modules that like Lego blocks, can be removed or added according to production requirements, to build up to four models at the same time, even of different segments.
If there are only three sophisticated “mechanical butterflies” in the Fiat-Chrysler group, for the time being there is only one automatic assembly system for the mobile parts on the body produced. At this station the robots fasten the doors, bonnet, tailgate and wings (the so-called mobile parts) to the body that has been assembled by the “butterfly” without human intervention. The merits are of the cameras secured to each robot that “read” the dimensions of the compartment they have in front of them, compare them against those of the mobile part to apply and after calculating a mathematical mean, centre the part in its seat with a precision impossible for man.
These two stations represent the technological cutting edge of a highly advanced and extremely flexible plating line.
Spacious, well-lit and clean: the Sheet-metal Working rooms at the Pomigliano plant are the farthest removed from what one can imagine of a traditional workshop where the sheets are pressed and welded. In this new workshop man no longer labours to load and support the welding machines, to handle the heavy components. The worker runs the systems, manages and controls the work of the machines.
The bodies are moved from one part of the shed to the other by overhead transport systems that reduce both human intervention – and therefore the chance of injury – and the noise in the workshop. Handling the pieces on the ground is given over to small safe and quiet electrical trains that have replaced the traditional fork lift trucks.
The pallets, which at one time were simple platforms on which the bodies were set to send them along the line, have become geopallets. They are indeed used to lock the body on specially provided geometric references so that during the movements it perfectly maintains the couplings of its parts. Optoelectronic control stations along the path read key characteristics of the body to check their quality compliance and geometric precision.
To build a quality car it is obviously necessary to have first class know-how and advanced technology. In addition to know-how, it is necessary to also know how to do it right the first time, to never take anything for granted and to remember that the quality of the finished product is the result of the quality of its parts, in addition to the precision of assembly and fittings.
This is what led Fiat to strongly focus on personnel training and to make several important components inside the plant, which were previously outsourced to suppliers.
The insourcing of components in the first place concerning the pressing of various sheet metal parts, which is done in a department where ten drawing and three cutting lines using 377 moulds turn the sheets into complex parts (side panels, doors, roofs, floors, etc.) that make up most of the panels of the new Panda.
By following the same principle of in-house production of components essential for product quality, the plant has been equipped with an internal Plastic Pressing Unit, the largest Fiat has. There, starting from the melted polypropylene granules injected into the moulds at high pressure, more than a hundred parts are made using 35 ultra-modern presses. These include the bumpers (which are also painted in a brand new plant), the central console of the new Panda and the dashboard. This latter is particularly produced by a single machine fitted with a triple-injection system that first forms the external black part and then the middle one in one of the four colours available.
The high process quality and repetitivity of the processing result guaranteed by the new Sheet-metal Working lines has already been discussed. The painting process is just as important. It is performed on a highly automated system that uses water-based paints. Euro 15 million have been invested over the past few months in the Painting department for new body transport systems and to eliminate the awkward manual internal sealing operations (between sheets) now performed by robots.
The results achieved by the process are still checked by the Metrological Unit Quality Center specialists who measure and analyse the pieces and entire car by samples or on request (if there are problems) to guarantee both the aesthetic and functional quality of the product.
As regards equipment, their gem is the “meisterbock”, a sort of “Meccano” on which the various body panels are placed and where an 18-metre-long measurement machine checks 2000 points on the body using electronic probes to guarantee that all of the piece couplings, clearances, profiles, geometric dimensions and relevant tolerances correspond to the design.
The Assembly Master stands next to the “meisterbock” in the Metrological room. This is where the tests on the body-part and part-part couplings with which the new Fiat Panda is “clad” at Assembly are carried out.
The center is also equipped with an innovative photometric scanning system used extensively for the new Panda. It quickly and very accurately assesses any dimensional problems that may arise. By comparing the photograph of the piece in question with that of the master of reference, the program immediately shows the points of any deviations from the perfect piece and their value on the computer with areas of different colours (as high relief and low relief of the sheet). This is just another small revolution if we think to the traditional controls from which a map of points that had to then be interpreted and processed by the specialists emerged, with totally different time frames and precision.
The new Fiat Panda naturally undergoes all of the necessary functional verifications. The hemi anechoic room test checks static noise (that generated by the movement of the windows, the opening and closing of the doors, the sliding of the seats on the guides, etc.), the water tightness test checked under a nine-position trellis where the car takes on various angles, and the dynamic test on the track (asphalt, dirt, wet, etc.) which all of the new Pandas built in Pomigliano undergo.
There are also checks in which man must make assessments without the help of sophisticated equipment. These are aesthetic checks called ICP (Initial Customer Perception) and functional checks called TOC (Test from the customer’s perspective), in which the tester simulates the customer in his first approach with his new car at both the dealer’s showroom and during the first few months of use.
From the technological, automation and production flexibility viewpoint, the Pomigliano site today is Fiat’s most advanced plant. But that is not enough. It is also the one where the people who work there have embraced the principle of “we are what we do” with the greatest impetus, convinced as they are that exactitude, perseverance and determination in doing a good job the first time and every day is the only way to win this new important challenge.
The truth is that the “turning point” for Pomigliano is far removed from that “extraordinary industrial relaunch plan” that in 2008 led to a two-month production shut-down and a total investment of Euro 110 million earmarked for modernising the plants and supplying a million hours of training.
Already back then the people working at the plant accepted to take the risk and face up to a huge reorganisation and revision of the work methods that had created the conditions for assigning the new Panda to the plant located in the Campania region of Italy. These were the pre-conditions on which the actual conditions for being able to produce the model with the quality standards and performance tenacity desired for the new car have been built over the past year.
While the Sheet-metal Working department started off from scratch, in 12 months the Painting department – previously modernised in 2008 – adopted the improvements that had become available over recent years, the Plastic Pressing Department was formed and the Assembly department was totally redesigned, with the World Class Manufacturing standards applied in all the departments. This is how a new way of running a factory was adopted. The people were involved from the workstation and operation sequence design stage and organisation was reformed.
As mentioned, what all of these activities had in common were the World Class Manufacturing principles and methods, the new way of working that all Fiat plants have embraced in order to achieve zero accidents, zero defects, zero stocks and zero breakdowns. To do this, the people were gathered in a single simulation area called Work Place Integration, where the assembly lines were virtually reconstructed. They were broken down into stations and operation sequences until the people assigned to that department found the best solutions for each activity. It was only then that the final line started to be physically built.
The offices were located right in the middle of the lines, in large glassed-in areas, so they would be close to the product and to those who build it.
All of the assembly stations were redefined by defining an ideal area where the maximum movement of every worker is about 60 cm. The materials are in fact all within reach, and it is unnecessary to bend down or raise their arms because when needed, it is the car that rises up or turns on hooks to offer the right side at the right height with every operation. In technical jargon this means that the people work in the “golden zone”.
To ensure maximum product quality, new verification methods have sprung up like double-checking, names a second check carried out by another worker downstream of the more critical operations. In this way the worker who got an operation wrong immediately notices the error, solves the problem himself and improves his skills by way of a self-learning system.
A new organisation has also been launched, again to help prevent problems. The workers are divided into groups (teams) of six people (before they were 12) who work well together also on the human level. Each group is guided by a team leader whose duty is to guarantee quality supervision of the process. A supervisor coordinates seven or eight team leaders and manages the quality, costs of his sector and is responsible for integration with the various functions that make an impact on the production process.
One of the pillars of World Class Manufacturing is Environment, which regards applying environmental-friendly methods and tools. To make the new Fiat Panda all of the processes have been designed and built according to principles that permit achieving the strictest environmental parameters.
Let’s take Painting as an example. Not only are all the paints water-based, but the pastel colours have a special formulation that enables better utilisation of the electrostatic spraying sumps, in this way reducing waste and the liquids to be disposed of.
A number of highly advanced energy saving systems has been applied in Sheet-metal Working and Assembly. LED lamps, for example, reduce energy consumption by 90% and devices fitted with photocells switch off the lights in the areas where there are no people after a few minutes.
Lastly, disposable packing materials have been drastically reduced and replaced with other reusable materials so that recycling has gone up to 95%.
Range (Italian market)
At its launch, the new model is available with front-wheel drive – then the Panda 4×4 will make its debut – and offers a range made up of 3 engines (the 65 HP aspirated TwinAir is not sold in Italy), 3 trim levels (Pop, Easy and Lounge), 10 body colours, 9 interior environments, 2 hub caps and 2 14″ and 15″ alloy wheels for a total of more than 600 combinations.
To ensure the safety of the occupants, the new model has 4 airbags (front and window protecting the head), ABS complete with BAS (Brake Assist System), front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiter, Isofix attachments for child seats, anti-whiplash front headrests, rear headrests and headlamps with Daytime Running Lights, all supplied as standard. In addition, the new model offers devices which are exclusive in its category: from the brand new “Blue&Me-TomTom LIVE” and the large transparent electric “Skydome” sun roof to the Hi-Fi system with CD/MP3 player and Dualdrive electric power steering with “City” function as standard, up to the “Smart fuel system”. The innovative LSCM system and the robotised Dualogic automatic transmission combined with the TwinAir engine will become available after the launch.
Lots of versions rich in content will then make it possible for every customer to choose their own made-to-measure Panda, and to then add an additional distinctive and personal touch by choosing packs and Lineaccessori articles from a long list of optional extras.
These features make the new Fiat Panda a “big” car that, moreover, has a very high product value thanks to the combination of high contents and reduced running costs.