Fiat’s Sergio Marchionne was amazed at the lack of forward progress on new Chrysler models when his company acquired Chrysler. Now he is trying to fix that by fast-tracking Chrysler’s new models, improving current interiors, and will likely turn the Dodge Ram into its own brand.
According to people involved in the discussion of this new business strategy, Fiat aims to get the first all-new Chrysler product to market by the end of 2011 and must shorten the typical vehicle development time to meet this goal. The first all-new Chrysler product is in addition to the Fiat 500 subcompact the Italian company plans to bring to the U.S. market by late 2010.
In addition to expediting Chrysler’s new products, Fiat will reportedly spin the Dodge Ram into its own brand. If true, we wouldn’t be surprised to even see the Dakota wear the Ram label, as well as a Fiat-designed replacement for the Sprinter.
The revitalization of Chrysler’s product lineup comes at a desperate time for Chrysler after exiting bankruptcy. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy said that Chrysler could shrink to half of its current 9 percent U.S. market share with the its slow introduction of new vehicles.
Although Fiat aims to fix analysts’ worries about new products, the company plans to first focus on improving Chrysler’s interiors. Chrysler has received harsh criticism about its interiors for trying too hard to cut costs. The Dodge Caliber has already received a vastly improved interior for 2010. With a focus on quick improvements to Chrysler’s cars, Fiat hopes to stop Chrysler’s sliding sales in the next two years.
“They have a great future. You’ll love the cars,” commented Fiat and Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne on Chrysler’s future products.
Source: Automotive News