Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is preparing to present his so-called Five Year Plan to the company's board on Friday. Part of the plan is to revamp five current Chrysler models by 2011, including the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot. Products currently in the pipeline include the new Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Fiat 500 minicar will bow in the U.S. in 2011.
A facelift usually takes two to three years to complete, but Marchionne is set on having the projects done within 18 months. To hurry the redesigns, engineers and designers are expected to put in as much overtime as needed to complete the task on schedule. Even so, Chrysler may need some additional hands on deck. The Detroit Free Press reports Chrysler may rehire as many as 35,000 blue- and white-collar employees between now and 2011. Many workers who accepted buyouts or were laid off could be rehired as contract workers. The possibility of a revised Town & Country is intriguing. Already a staple of Chrysler's lineup, the brand could move to make the people-hauler a veritable luxury liner, which would both help move the Chrysler brand upscale and differentiate the van from its Grand Caravan sibling. If approved by the board, Chrysler's Five Year Plan will be submitted to President Obama for approval next Wednesday.
Source: The Detroit Free Press