Pegging down future automobile product plans is hard enough in a normal economy. With the current state of affairs, it's like grabbing a snowflake with a heated fork. It's damn hard and you have to start over as soon as you think you got it figured out. Still, we were curious about what Chrysler's bankruptcy and partnership with Fiat might mean for cars like the Circuit EV and companies like A123 Systems, which is slated to supply batteries for Chrysler's electric vehicle lineup.
Reuters says that "the sum of Fiat and Chrysler's parts does not amount to the kind of electric vehicle powerhouse that Renault and Nissan are trying to build." Still, Chrysler's ENVI project could get a big boost from Fiat's smaller, lighter vehicles - Alfa Romeo and Cinquecento - that could make the jump across the pond. One J.D. Power and Associates powertrain analyst told Reuters that a bankruptcy judge might just shut ENVI down. So there's that.
The same analyst thinks that A123 will be fine if they find another customer. That's pretty close to a truism. A123 Systems did not draw up a statement in response to the Chrysler bankruptcy.
Whatever happens, a delay in Chrysler's previously-announced schedule for 2010 models is a sure thing. Chrysler said as much (subs req'd) in their bankruptcy filing earlier this week. 2011 models might also be affected, depending on how the bankruptcy affects plant closures and suppliers.