During the press conference organized for the new 600e, Fiat did more than just introduce the charming crossover as it also showed a sketch of an aborted project. It rarely happens for an automaker to reveal a car that was left on the cutting room floor, especially during an event dedicated to a new product. The adjacent sketch depicts a model that was supposed to replace the Grande Punto subcompact hatchback.

According to Head of Fiat New Products Antonio Massacesi, then-FCA boss Sergio Marchionne was skeptical about the B-segment, arguing that it's too competitive and not profitable enough. As a response, Massacesi – who oversaw the project – and his team came up with the idea of a larger 500, which looks an awfuly lot like the 500X introduced a year later, in 2014. He describes the stillborn vehicle as being "more aspirational than a Punto or a Fiesta or a Clio" at a lower price tag. Marchionne liked the new plan and approved the car for production, only to be axed a few months later.

2022 Fiat 500X

It eventually became an on-again, off-again project before Fiat ultimately pulled the plug. Massacesi says a new platform would've been necessary to comply with emissions and safety regulations. Consequently, the subcompact hatchback's architecture co-developed with General Motors and used for the first time in 2005 on the Grande Punto was already outdated by 2013.

The other brands refused to share the development costs for a new architecture, so the car was axed. Fiat did the math and came to the conclusion that engineering a new platform for just one car just wasn't worth it. The Grande Punto was eventually phased out in 2018, and the Italian brand sees the new Seicento as its indirect successor. This time around, Fiat didn't have to do all the work since the electric and hybrid crossover uses the same e-CMP2 platform as the Jeep Avenger, allowing parent company Stellantis to spread the costs.

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