Look-a-like: Fiat Argo interior and…

There are many ways in which Fiats have stood out over time: innovation, good looks, spaciousness, charm and value-for-money. You’ll notice that one of the things not on this list is interior design, with Fiat interiors more often than not being just a sea of gray plastic (notable exceptions include the 500 range, especially the original small 500, and cars like the mid-1990s Coupe and Barchetta). Given the lack of form in this respect it makes sense that Fiat would look elsewhere in the industry for inspiration for the interior of the newly-revealed Argo, and what better place to look than at the carmaker that is seen by many as leading the industry in terms of interior design (if not always quality).

Mercedes-Benz A-class

And so, the interior of the new Fiat Argo seems to borrow heavily from the Mercedes-Benz A-class. No, it is not the “copy-paste” approach taken by many Chinese carmakers, but rather the conscious “pick and choose” approach that has Fiat use the A-class’ most distinctive and successful design features: the semi-floating central infotainment screen floating above triple round air vents, as well as a three-spoked steering wheel with a two-pronged, deep lower spoke. That said, the rest of the Argo’s cabin is pretty much Fiat, some for the better (the body-color painted accent strip looks really good, as do the simple analogue instruments), some for the worse (the outer air vents don’t match in style with the circular items in the middle, and the black door latch looks incredibly cheap). Still, I think the Argo’s interior is a big step forward compared to the Palio it replaces, or the smaller Fiat Uno.

Fiat Palio
Fiat Uno
  1. After looking at the interior of the Fiat Uno, it might be fun to have a contest for the ugliest interiors in the world. It should include only cars currently in production or all those old Soviet cars would dominate the rankings. Wasn’t that East German car barely better than a go-cart?

    1. Stephen – are you referring to the Trabant? There was a fun joke we had about that car when we were growing up:
      Q: “How do you double the value of a Trabant?”
      A: “You fill up the gas tank!”

  2. Things are moving at FIAT:

    Three models in the Brazilian Top 10 (Mobi, Strada, Uno).
    the Tipo #1 in Turkey and #2 in Italy.
    It’s been quite a while since we saw FIAT’s score that high in the rankings.

    On top of that, seeing the immense success of the “vintage” Logan/Sandero (global top 10!!!), FIAT might have gold in their hands with its recent “budget’ line-up.

    1. @Rick M

      With the exception of the Tipo in Italy, the other results are nothing new. The Linea was number one in Turkey for a couple of years, and the Palio was number two in Brasil for ages, behind the VW Gol.
      Those are traditionally strong Fiat markets, and they’re nowhere near full strenght in Brasil ( the Argo will probably help them improve, although they’re not aiming for market leadership with it ). If you want a good example of a car that truly struck a chord, you should be looking at the Fiat Toro. Never has a Fiat that expensive sold as well in Brasil as the Toro has ( It’s at #11 in May, and regularly outsells the much cheaper Strada )

      The problem with Fiat is the same as it has always been; No follow through. The Tipo has been successful, thats good, the Argo seems to have been well received, that’s nice… what’s next? Well, a reheated 500L for Europe and another restyling for the Strada in Brasil ( the fifth one ), and that’s it. Nothing else in the horizon. Same for Alfa. Same for Chrysler. Same for Dodge.

      Not to mention that there are rumours that they will probably soon be leaving both the Chinese and Indian markets.

      1. You: “With the exception of the Tipo in Italy, the others results are nothing new”
        I: Your opinion equals the vox populi?? Did someone claimed the results are new?

        I just stated “things are moving at FIAT”.
        I didn’t neglect the Linea was Turkey’s #1. Or #2 when the Fluence (now the fab looking Megene S=sedan) had the edge. That’s not relevant for what I am stating.

        A while back there was no Tipo – now it’s sold 150k p/a.
        Despite the fall in Brazilian sales (-9% in 2017) its reinforcing its presence with new metal (Mobi, Toro and stuff).
        What might be relevant – despite falling Jeep sales in the USA, its simple low margin line-up in EU and other bleeding activities – is that FIAT seems to contemplate a Dacialicious approach with a.o. the Tipo. Value for money in a non-offensive packaging.

      2. Any reliable source for the rumors you mentioned about China and India ?
        Facts are that Jeep is increasing its local production in China and just starting it in India…it looks like the moves go towards the opposite way.
        Also, Alfa is just in the middle of its relaunching and repositioning challenge…no discussion about the excellence of the two products (Giulia and Stelvio), I guess we all agree on that. That is clearly not enough to grant huge sales but it’s a great starting point, imho.
        If they get grip with it in China and the US the target set for Alfa (400k cars/year) won’t look as out of reach as it was considered when Marchionne announced it.
        All in all, it seems like they are trying to do something. Nobody knows if it will eventually deliver but the strategy is in the execution phase…let’s wait and see

      3. @f81

        I meant Fiat as a brand. As of right now, Fiat is no longer making Fiat badged cars in China:


        As for India, it’s more of a constant rumor, but they are pushing Jeep pretty hard ( as you would expect ), while being very vague about what Fiat branded cars they’ll be selling in the future.


  3. @Rick M

    What’s with the attitude guy, did i offend you or something? The person who said that Fiats results are new was you, when you stated – ” It’s been quite a while since we saw FIAT’s score that high in the rankings “. If it’s been ” quite a while “, then these results are new, because they have not been a constant. ” Opinions ” are things like claiming that the Tipo as sold 150k/y when it hasn’t, and most likely won’t, or that Fiat is ” reinforcing its presence ” in Brasil, when market share has been falling since 2014 ( 21% in 2014, 17.7% in 2015, 15,4% in 2016, 13.2% so far this year ).
    And regarding the Dacia thing, it works with the Tipo ( kinda ) but the Argo is being marketed as a premium compact car.
    Things are moving… at a glacial pace and everyone is skating by them.

    1. @tuga:
      thanks for your clarification, I misinterpreted your previous message. Apologies
      Anyway, in order to push a make, car manufacturers need to invest a lot of money and, as well known, FCA is not the one with the big wallet…they have decided to focus on a make that can sell by itself thanks to its strong brand in the booming SUV market (Jeep) and the one that can bring to the house the highest margins (Alfa).
      The latter is for sure the most complicated leg of the strategy but also the most exciting and, potentially, satisfying. I really hope they will succeed as the brand has a history, an allure, a prestige that deserve to be revamped; and I think Giulia and Stelvio both do justice to that heritage.
      Disclosure: I am Italian and I love Alfa Romeo, if that was not clear from my previous messages 🙂

      1. @ f81

        No need to apologize, it was a perfectly legitimate question.
        I love Fiat and Alfa ( and Lancia ) too, i just can’t stand Marchionne and the brass at FCA right now. Hopefully it turns out for the best ( i’m sure it will for Jeep and Alfa, even if it is outside of Fiat ), but i just get really angry at his/their strategy sometimes 🙂

  4. Tagu, if you wish to augment yr automotive knowledge – I am sure you’re eager to – check out my posts. And CSB.com of course. Great source for data analysis.

    1. Hey Mick R.

      Nice guess bro, 150k Tipo’s in a year.
      That target will be a breezer if sales continue at this pace: 13.000 in May in just 2 countries (It & Tur.)
      First non-Panda/500 FIAT in decades to tackle the 15k per month in EU

  5. Interesting to note that in Q1 2017 FCA was able to achieve 5,5% margin, of which 3,2% in EMEA.
    (NAFTA at 7,5% is a whole diff. ballgame due to the high volume / high margin Jeeps & RAM’s)
    90% of EMEA sales is achieved via small and in general low margin vehicles as the Panda, and less so the 500 series.

    In the grand scheme of global business 3,2% is totally insignificant, but still double what mighty Wolfsburg realized in Europe in 2016. These guys occupied the #1 and #2 Top 10 slot, yet only generated 1,7%.

  6. My feeling is different. Often Fiat
    have offered quite fun colours especially on the Punto series. Recent Pandas have
    been quite jolly inside too.

  7. Only someone which understand literary nothing about interiors and automotive in general, can really think that the new Argo interiors are inspired by the (overestimated) a-class ones. It’s not necessary to talk every time about cars, especially FCA cars, if you don’t have something significant to say…

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