Ciao Fiat Weekend

​The veteran says so long, but the love is still strong

Launched 23 years ago in Brazil, Fiat Weekend is still admired for its design, comfort and versatility. And the fans guarantee: the love continues even after the end of its production.

January 28, 2020 - Let's be honest: fans will miss the Fiat Weekend with the end of its production in Brazil, on January 27th. It’s no wonder. After all, it has been in the market for more than two decades - the station wagon arrived in stores in 1997 - and became very successful in this country, where it was born under the name of Palio Weekend and soon dominated the segment. More than 530 thousand units have been sold since its debut.

“The Fiat Weekend played a very important role for Fiat, leading the segment during almost its entire commercial trajectory”, highlights the Director for Brand Fiat and Commercial Operations in Brazil, Herlander Zola. However, even out of production, the veteran promises to remain a prominent vehicle on the streets, and those who guarantee this are the station wagon's own admirers.

"It's a shame that it will no longer be produced, but nothing will change my love for that car", says Robson Marsola, owner of a 1997 Palio Weekend Stile identical to the one his father had the year of its launch 23 years ago. “He had a Palio hatch and got on a waiting list to buy the station wagon. I can’t explain how this love for the car was born; I only know that it had a fascinating, spacious design and that my father loved it too, especially for its excellent value. I bought the same one, a year ago because of this admiration I’ve had since my childhood”, he says.

Robson Marsola next to his 1997 Fiat Palio Weekend StileRobson Marsola has been in love with the Palio Weekend since he was nine years old and says he will never sell his station wagon.

And there weren’t just a few Palio Weekend in the life of the 31-year-old salesman. “After the first one, my family got a Stile 1998, an ELX 2005 and another 2010 Adventure Locker. Currently, in addition to my Stile, my father bought another ELX 2005 two years ago which he uses for work and leisure”, says Marsola, who since he was a child did everything to ride in the Fiat station wagon. “We lived in Santos (SP) when my father had his first Palio Weekend and I asked him to pick me up at school and take me to lunch and work with him… in São Paulo! Just to be in the car. I was in love.”

Even with the discontinuation of the model, lawyer Renato Domingues, 40, says that his affection for Weekend will only get stronger. “My family and I love this car. It is our travel companion and my everyday vehicle. We already have a long adventure scheduled for June this year, in which we will leave São Paulo on a two-thousand-kilometer journey to Bahia”, reveals the owner of an ELX 2002 model.

Another fan who loves to travel with the Palio Weekend is the trader Eduardo Souza, owner of a 2010 Adventure Locker version. “I travel a lot with my girlfriend to the beaches of Santa Catarina. One of the best trips was to Praia do Forte, on a road with many steep climbs. With our Adventure Locker, it was easy and with a good average on fuel consumption. It’s also worth saying that we were not tired after arriving at our destination because the car is very comfortable”.

Eduardo Souza and his 2010 Fiat Palio Weekend Adventure LockerOne of Eduardo Souza's passions is to travel with his Palio Weekend Adventure Locker.

Souza was born in 1997, the same year that Palio Weekend started production at the Fiat Automotive Plant (Betim, MG). According to him, the connection with the model came about because of a good offer. “My girlfriend and I decided to buy a used car and we found the Weekend at a very attractive price and in excellent condition. For me it was a pleasant surprise, because I was always a fan of sedans and I was enchanted by the station wagon. What I like most about it is the space inside and its versatility. You can load up anything from a cooler and your entire family for a fishing weekend showered with lots of cold beer”.

In addition to their appreciation for the car, the three Palio Weekend admirers have something in common which is not to part with their wagons. “I am the third and last owner of my Weekend. I will not sell it for any amount money and I plan, in the coming years, to make it a collector’s item, with the black license plate and all. It’s my passion, my therapy, because whenever I drive it, it seems as though all my problems disappear. I’ll have it until my last breath”, says Robson Marsola.

"I would probably sell it to get another Weekend, because only then my three children, who also love the station wagon, would allow me to sell it", reiterates Renato Domingues. Eduardo Souza, on the other hand, would accept to sell it under a, let's say, very creative scenario: “I would sell mine to get a new generation Weekend, in case they launch it someday. I can already imagine the situation: Geneva Motor Show 2030 and everyone being surprised by the revelation of the Fiat station wagon with a very futuristic and impactful style. It doesn't hurt to dream, right?”, he jokes.

The Weekend's retirement, according to Zola, will also be remembered for making room for a new phase of launches by the automaker in the country. “We are always attentive to what the consumer is looking for, that’s why we started an accelerated phase of change at Fiat. In order to meet the desire of the Brazilian customer, production of three new models is expected to start in 2020. Two of them will place our brand in the SUV segment”, reveals the executive.

Words: Leandro Alvares

Pictures: Marketing FCA Disclosure / Personal Archives

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