Fiat have engaged Chinaâ€™s Chery Automobile group to manufacture 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines for their Linea line-up. Combining these engines with an automatic transmission option paves the way for Fiat to introduce the Linea range to Australia. Previously the Linea has only been available in Euro spec which has meant 1.3 and 1.4-litre engines and a manual transmission.
Being Australian we need larger engines for the daily commute from St Kilda beach to the family Opel mine in Coober Pedy. Although the tide is turning and we have no doubt that smaller engined cars will become more relevant to Australian city dwellers over coming years. Admittedly a manual only vehicle would not sell terribly well in Australia.
The handsome Fiat Linea should slot in just above the Punto in the Fiat line-up. The Linea is currently being manufactured in Bursa, Turkey but will also be manufactured in Brazil, China, India and Russiaâ€¦everywhere it seems but Italy. Unlike past Fiats, your Turkish built Linea with a Chinese built engine shouldnâ€™t rust or breakdown and the sun-visor wonâ€™t fall off during tight left-hand turns.
Australians will see the new Fiat Ritmo before we see the Linea. The Ritmo is expected to be in showrooms around September of this year with the Linea not expected until sometime during the first half of 2008. We may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of it at this years Sydney Motor Show. Pricing and full specifications are not yet known but we will keep you informed as details become available.