• Mar 23rd 2010 at 10:02AM
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Chrysler's international sales in both the minivan and pickup categories are strong, but the company lacks strong small vehicle sales outside of the U.S. In Canada, Chrysler may be fairing well in the light truck market, but is virtually non-existent in both the B-segment and the C-segment of passenger cars. With limited international success in the small car market, Chrysler struggles to gain a strong foothold. B-segment and C-segment vehicles accounted for more than half of all vehicles sold in Canada last year and Chrysler accounted for only a small fraction of the segments.

This is where Fiat, a company that has formed its foundation on the basis of small cars, comes in. With strong-selling vehicles in both segments mentioned above, Fiat could be exactly what Chrysler needs to gain market share in Canada. As Reid Bigland, Chrysler Canada Inc. president and chief executive officer, recently told Ward's Auto, "Chrysler Group LLC's alliance with Italy-based Fiat Auto SpA likely spells payoff for the Pentastar company's Canadian-market sales."

Bigland told Ward's Auto that crowds gathered around the Fiat products last month at the Toronto Auto Show. The Fiat 500 and its performance oriented Abarth model were big hits. As Bigland said of Chrysler partnering with Fiat, "(it) fits like a glove."

The Fiat 500 is expected to go on sale in Canada by the end of next year. Canadian Chrysler dealers will receive special allotments of 500s based upon their status as "top performers" and each dealership's willingness to modify their stores to showcase the Fiat brand. Additional, undisclosed Fiat models are expected to appear in Canada after the 500's introduction.

[Source: Ward's Auto]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Slow, weak, cramped, fragile, humiliating little poverty-mobiles are not the future. They only sell at all well in the middle of financial disasters, after which normal people quickly revert to buying fast, powerful, roomy, robust vehicles they enjoy owning and are glad to be seen in.

      Austerity and reduced fuel consumption are hopeless goals. From 1976 to 1990, average US MPG went from 13 to 20, an enormous gain. Yet despite being able to drive the same distance on much less fuel, gasoline consumption did not go down - it went UP from 89 to 103 billion gallons a year. And half that timeframe was in recession or stagflation - if it had been a growth run, fuel usage would have risen even more. Population and economic growth combine to create more cars, more drivers, and more miles driven - the gains in fuel demand wipe out all efficiency gains.

      And even if you could reduce fuel usage somehow, OPEC would just cut production to match, spike the per-unit price, and make just as much as before on reduced sales volume, so the flow of our wealth to terrorists and extremists would be totally unaffected.

      The real solution is not being able to roll a little further down the road on planet-fouling, economy-trashing, terror-funding Enemy Fuel while the OPEC monopoly remains carefully undisrupted, but in SWITCHING FUELS.

      The easiest way to accomplish that is to mandate that all new gasoline cars sold in America (sold, not made, so as to include imports) be fully flex-fueled, able to run equally easily on any alcohol fuel (methanol, ethanol, etc.) as on gasoline. It costs automakers only $130 per car to add this simple, reliable technology which has been around since the early 1990s. With alcohol compatibility being the new norm, gasoline loses its monopoly status and drivers are no longer a captive market, helpless when OPEC jacks up the price - this caps the bad guys' mischief budget.

      And that way SUVs and such can run on renewable clean burning non enemy funding fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have a problem with just slap a bigger tank on it, the fact that a bigger tank would add more weight and therefore require more work for the motor to move said weight. Thus negating the whole point of the exercise. Automobiles need to come down in weight not go up, we continue to make things more efficent but then slap them into heavier cars. It just seems backwards to me. And don't get me wron Carney I am not saying these fuels dont have benefits I am just saying there need to be other improvments first in order to better take advantage of them. And saying the ev's are damned because of their charge time is only partial viable, I think ev's are still behind but given that more and more city's are popping up grids to charge them and some can be charged in under 4 hours its kind of a mute point.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Automobiles need to come down in weight not go up"

        Why? That's the mental box of fuel efficiency and conservation you're trapped in. They only make sense in a context where petroleum is the only option and all you can do is mitigate the damage. But if your fuel is something else, something renewable, clean-burning, affordable, and doesn't fund the crazies, who cares if you burn a little more?

        "we continue to make things more efficent but then slap them into heavier cars. "

        So what?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Define "power". Methanol and ethanol both have higher octane than even premium gasoline, providing better acceleration and responsiveness.

        As for needing more volume of fuel, fine, that's their only real downside. So if you fill up twice a month now, you might need to do so 3 times a month with ethanol and once a week with methanol.

        But really, so what? Methanol is so cheap that you still spend less on a monthly basis for fuel. And since unlike with EVs refiing from empty takes just a couple of minutes, a lot of people would be excited to have this option.

        If it really bugs people just make the fuel tanks bigger so that a full tank of ethanol in this year's flex fuel model takes you ad far as a tank of gasoline in last year's mono-fuel model. Simple.

        No more excuses.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nice rant, but you fail to mention the fact the blend fuels give less power pound for pound compared to straight gasoline. So having better ICE is still better then having nederthal suv's that dont every get used for the intended purpose roaming the streets. At the end of the day it would be nice to use the ethanol or alcohol based fuels but until they manage to get the same power density as gasoline they suffer from the same problem as EV's and that is range.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is Canada going to get the European Fiat 500 that people love, or the American-sized "Fiat 500" that's built on the bigger and heavier Panda platform?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm pulling for straight off the shelf euro models! Just out the steering wheel on the left side and I am good to go!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fiat can send the 500 and the Punto and they will sell like hot cakes here in Canada especailly the Abarth models! The only thing I can see as a problem is if they sell them under the Chrysler name I think that its reputation could be to far gone in Canada, cars like the Sebring and Avenger have killed its image here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Fiat 500 looks great! Nice to see Chrysler making friends with A123 Systems for the lithium-ion batteries that will make their cars, trucks, and minivans green.

      Researching how to make your company, product, or next project more Green? Go to www.greencollareconomy.com for sustainability white papers and the largest b2b green directory on the web.
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