Fiat plans budget Dacia rival and new sports car

* Fiat plans to launch Dacia-rivalling range from 2015 * Rear-wheel-drive sports car also set to be sold * Lancia range to be offered in Italy only...

Fiat plans budget Dacia rival and new sports car

Fiat is to release a range of budget cars to rival the likes of Dacia.

A budget saloon will kick off the new range in 2015, with a hatchback and estate version to follow in 2016. A small SUV will complete the offering in 2017.

According to What Car? sources, the entire range is likely to be based on one platorm, to allow cost savings that will be passed on to the customer.

Fiat plans to split its line-up into two, with one side selling 'sensible' models such as the new budget range, the Panda and the 2016 replacement for the Punto. The other half of Fiat's range will consist of cars such as the 500, which have a more aspirational appeal.

Another model with a more emotional focus is the compact sports car that's being developed in conjunction with Mazda. This car was originally destined to wear an Alfa Romeo badge, but a change in Alfa's policy means it will now wear a Fiat or Abarth badge.

Fiat bosses have also confirmed that Lancia models will be sold in Italy only.