Marchionne Says Fiat Could Launch Hybrid Models

Fiat already announced its interest in building an electrified 500, but Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne hinted during a recent Fiat shareholders meeting that the automaker is also considering selling hybrid vehicles in Europe.

Marchionne refused to comment further on the products during the meeting on March 29, noting the company will announce its future product plans on April 21. That said, Italian politician Mercedes Bresso claims Marchionne told her Fiat will build hybrid versions of the 5- and 7-seat minivans scheduled to replace the current Idea and Multipla models. According to Bresso, the hybrids will be built alongside their conventional twins at Fiat’s Mirariori plant in Turin, Italy.

At this stage, it’s unclear if Fiat’s aiming to combine the hybrid driveline with a gasoline or a diesel engine, but it’s clear that the company’s interest in a hybrid vehicle is spurred by both EU emission standards and new competition. Peugeot plans on offering its 3008 minivan in a diesel-electric hybrid form next year, and it’s likely other automakers playing in this segment will follow suit.

Interestingly enough, despite the obvious CO2 benefits of the electric 500, Fiat says the model will remain exclusive to North America for the time being. Chrysler announced last week that its engineers were tasked with developing the electric driveline for the car, and would ultimately build it in its plant in Toluca, Mexico, by 2012.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)