Finally, something to look forward to: Fiat has announced that the first Fiat-based Chrysler product will be a compact Dodge sedan.
"The new architecture, which debuted with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, is the most advanced mass-produced car Fiat has ever had, and at Chrysler, Dodge will use it first," Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters.
The platform is known internally as the Compact Wide architecture, or alternatively as C-EVO, and features a front-wheel-drive layout using four-cylinder engines. It rides on a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension and, in the Alfa, features either a dual-clutch automatic or traditional manual transmission.
Though offered only as a four-door hatchback in Giulietta guise, the unnamed Dodge will in fact be a sedan. Built in the U.S., it is expected to debut at the end of next year, shortly before the Dodge Caliber is discontinued in mid-2012. It isn't entirely clear whether this new car will replace the Caliber or compliment it, but if the Caliber does live on separately, it'll likely be heavily revised and possibly Fiat-based as well.
Marchionne also confirmed that the Fiat 500 will be the first Fiat vehicle sold in the U.S. since 1983 when it goes on sale in January 2011 at select dealers. The 500, along with the upcoming Dodge sedan and Detroit-built MultiAir four-cylinder engine, all help Fiat reach goals set by the U.S. Treasury to allow the company to expand its stake in Chrysler from 20 percent to 35 percent. The final hurdle will be restarting Chrysler's fledgling global business and getting their cars exported.
"I think the issue could be resolved by year end and the conditions to get there could be reached in the second part of next year," Marchionne said.