Fiat's Grand Punto yesterday achieved an admirable milestone in its short history with the millionth unit rolling off the production line at Fiat's Melfi factory. The Grand Punto is the 'love child' of two highly successful earlier models, the first Punto (1993-1999) and the second series Punto currently being sold as the Punto Classic (1999-current). Success, you have to say, was assured with each having sold over three million units to date.
Destined for the British market, the millionth Grand Punto is equipped with Fiat's 90kW 1.4L turbo-charged engine. The sport version shown, resplendent in Passionate Red, also features the Skydome electric roof and 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels.
There are good reasons behind the Punto's success. Each model in the range offers exceptional fuel economy, as low as 4.8L/100kms in the 1.3L JTD, while still providing a zippy drive and a five-star EuroNCAP crash rating. It's also in a package that won't break the budget.
While the Grand Punto still has a ways to go before it can eclipse its forebears for sales volume, its strength in the European market means it will only be a matter of time. Here, it hasn't done so well, but the long absence of the Fiat brand from this market has put the job in front of it.