Chrysler Gains Seven Models from Fiat Alliance

Joshua Duval

Speculation has run rampant about Chrysler's future lineup for months now, and has only increased since the struggling American carmaker announced its plans to tie-up with Italian automaker Fiat. That speculation gets a new focus today, as Automotive News is revealing some details about the vehicles that will be born out of the alliance.

Chrysler badly needs to fill its voids in small car segments. To address this issue, Chrysler will retool its Toluca, Mexico plant-which currently builds the Dodge Journey and Chrysler PT Cruiser-to start building the Fiat 500 minicar. Chrysler will also sell a version of the Fiat Panda 5-door mini hatchback, likely with a Chrysler or Dodge badge on it. The Fiat Panda and Fiat 500 are the best-selling and second-best-selling small cars in Europe. The 500 could be sold as soon as 2012.

Fiat will supply Chrysler with two subcompacts, another segment in which Chrysler has no presence. The Alfa Romeo MiTo will be sold, along with a Chrysler or Dodge vehicle based on the same platform. Chrysler will also have access to Fiat's 1.4-liter and 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines to power these small cars. The engines could be built at the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant in Michigan, where Chrysler currently builds 1.0, 1.8 and 2.4-liter engines in cooperation with Hyundai and Mitsubishi.

In the compact segment, Chrysler's offerings are notoriously sub-par: the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. Fiat's upcoming C-Evo platform, which will spawn a successor for the Alfa Romeo 147 to be sold in the U.S., may also be used to build a replacement for the Dodge Caliber. Both vehicles will be built at a U.S. plant. The Jeeps are likely to be killed off.

Chrysler's mid-sized sedans, the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger, have also been criticized as disappointing and lackluster. A redesigned Sebring/Avenger could be built upon a stretched version of the C-Evo platform. Fiat hasn't decided what it will use the stretched C-Evo platform for, so the Chrysler mid-sized sedans would be its first application.

Fiat may sell the Journey and Dodge Dakota in Latin America, as well. Its main benefit in the deal with Chrysler is cheap manufacturing and distribution in the North American market. Fiat has had no presence in the U.S. since Alfa Romeo withdrew in the mid-1990s. It will also gain access to Chrysler's upcoming Phoenix V-6 engines.

The two automakers hope to have the proposed alliance deal finalized by April 30.

Source: Automotive News

Thanks for the correction milanista.
Chrysler's current smallest engine is absolutely not a 2.5 litre 4 cylinder. The Dodge Caliber offers a 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4, all of which are smaller than this "allegedly" smallest 2.5 litre.
"Fiat's upcoming C-Evo platform....may also be used to build a replacement for the Dodge Caliber. Both vehicles will be built at a U.S. plant. The Jeeps are likely to be killed off."Thank Goodness! I recently rented a Cailber and it was one of the worst cars I have driven! Nothing about the car made sense. For a car its size it had absolutely no trunk! The door sills are high and the pillars are so thick you feel like you are driving a submarine. They insist on pushing the whole dash as close to your face as possible adding to the claustrophobia. Then little nagging things like door lock buttons are right where you would want to rest your arm if the window was open, the dash is made of the hardest plastic known to man etc. I also sat in a Jeep Compass, holy cow. That vehicle is an embarrassment! No wonder Chrysler is having troubles. It has all the lack of qualities of the Caliber, only heightened by the fact that they slap the Jeep name on it and try to call it a truck! And the interior! Straight from a plastic pedal car! My 1990 Mitsubishi Montero (may it RIP) had a nicer dash and interior. Has Chrysler not peeked into a CR-V or Rav4? Chrysler should follow the lead of their european friends. Hopefully this marriage will work out. Oh, and they should build the 200 as well...and stop trying to make small cars look like trucks...and enough with the high beltline and thick pillars! Some people want to see out of the car they are driving!

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