Report: Two Fiat-based small cars to replace PT Cruiser, Caliber in 2012
According to a new report by Automotive News, the underpinnings of the Giulietta are set to proliferate throughout Fiat's range in the coming years, and of the one million vehicles the automaker plans to build off the new architecture annually, the Chrysler group will account for around 700,000.
Fiat and Chrysler are currently working on a widened version of the platform – appropriately dubbed "Compact Wide" – and seven new models for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep will use the new underpinnings, including the replacement for the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Dodge Caliber in 2012. And judging by Fiat's description, it's a helluva platform.
Aimed to compete with the new Audi A1 and BMW 1 Series, the platform uses 84 percent high and ultrahigh strength steel, a McPherson front and a dual-link rear suspension, both of which will use aluminum components (front and rear arms, along with the crossmember).
The platform comes in around 10 percent lighter than its predecessor thanks to the use of aluminum and magnesium, and is designed to fit a transverse engine and can be adapted for either front- or all-wheel drive applications.
On a related side note, during last week's Economic Club of Chicago luncheon in which Ralph Gilles, Dodge CEO and Chrysler Group design head, dropped a a handful of interesting tidbits about the future of the automaker, he also showed a few teasers of upcoming products. Included in the presentation were images of the new 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee, along with the the rendering above, a new subcompact product from Dodge, almost assuredly the next Caliber. Combined with the new platform and Fiat's Multiair engines, we may finally have a credible contender in the compact arena from Chrysler. And it's about damn time.
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