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Future models - Fiat - Panda

Pint-size Panda on Fiat's endangered species list

Wish list: Australia is looking unlikely for boxy-but-cute Panda.

Fiat has difficult time pricing the Panda for local buyers

Fiat logo2 Nov 2006

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

PRICING issues may keep the Panda from entering Australia after all.

According to Fiat spokesman Edward Rowe, Ateco Automotive has been trying to source the Panda at a price that would enable it to keep a $3000 gap with the larger Punto light car.

But while there are stripped-out and entry-level Panda models available, Ateco insists that the Polish-built baby car must have safety and convenience items that match the $19,990-plus Punto.

So nailing a Panda with anti-lock brakes, a brace of airbags, air-conditioning, remote central locking and power windows for around $16,990 is looking increasingly unlikely.

Either way, an announcement from Ateco is expected shortly but it is unlikely the car will go on sale next year.

The Panda has been praised in Europe, where it is offered in four-wheel drive and 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol as well as 1.3-litre 16-valve MultiJet turbo-diesel variants.

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