The new product picture at Chrysler appears to be mighty thin, as the only new products scheduled to come out of the Pentastar over the next year are redesigns of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and the Chrysler 300. As you may recall, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne recently said that he was surprised to see how little has been done in the way of product development over the past two years, which is hardly a ringing endorsement from the new boss.
Marchionnne and his management team are now putting the final touches on a new plan to reverse Chrysler's fortunes, and the key to the company's renaissance will be new product. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Marchionne's plan includes quick turnarounds on the refreshing of the Town & Country and Grand Caravan minivans, the Dodge Caliber, as well as the Jeep Patriot and Compass. According to company sources, the PT Cruiser is also scheduled to be redesigned in a compressed time frame, with the expectation of a mid-2011 arrival.
To execute the aggressive plan, Marchionne is reportedly calling for design and engineering workers to work overtime, and some workers who took packages or were separated involuntarily will be hired back on a contract basis. Beyond the refreshes already mentioned, Fiat has already committed to build the hot little 500 in Mexico by mid-2011, and the Pentastar will also complete the launch of its Phoenix V6 engine program.
Marchionne is scheduled to deliver his latest proposal to overhaul Chrysler to the Obama Administration's Auto Task Force by next Wednesday. It looks like there is finally going to be some serious action in Auburn Hills, MI, and we're hoping that Fiat and Chrysler can buy two years' time to bring the greatly-needed product to fruition.