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Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne appears to be a fairly optimistic chap, and recent news coming out of Auburn Hills shows that he may have reason to begin seeing the Pentastar's glass as half full. Marchionne said in a conference call Monday that improved finances and a surprise first quarter profit mean that an IPO is coming soon, and upgraded products are coming sooner. That's good news for all the Mopar fans out there, even if most of the new product is of the subcompact variety.

The big news from the conference call is that the launch of several Fiat-based compact vehicles was moved up from 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2011. The vehicles would fill the gaping small car hole in Chrysler's current product portfolio. Marchionne says that the models have been through several clinics, and the design is 98 percent baked in.

According to Marchionne, Chrysler's soon-to-be-revamped lineup isn't relegated to a few new Pentastar'd Fiats. The Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring will re-launch with a major overhaul this year in the fourth quarter, with what Marchionne calls "significant surgery on the architecture of those cars and... significant improvements [to] the interiors." The most immediate help on the way arrives for Jeep customers, starting with the June launch of the 2011 Grand Cherokee, which Marchionne calls "the symbol of Jeep." The Jeep Wrangler (which we would argue is the true symbol of Jeep, but whatever) and Patriot are next with reportedly significant interior upgrades (and hopefully powertrain improvements, too) in the third quarter.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      How about the real deals without the Chrysler/Dodge ugly stick application?

      • 5 Years Ago
      Lets not get a ahead of our self, Chrysler is lucky to survive past 2010 let alone till 2012.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "That's good news for all the Mopar fans out there, even if most of the new product is of the subcompact variety."

      um... considering an all performance all mopar focus isn't going to keep chrysler alive, isn't anything which will work to make them a real viable cost effective company good news without caveats? t
      • 5 Years Ago
      When are they going to get rid of that wretched grill design? It's been a massive failure from the start.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can think of a few cars that the "Cross hair grill" looks great on. Like the Viper, Charger, Challenger, Minivan, Neon, Original Stratus to name a few. All I'm saying is that the older cars looked great with grill and so can the new ones? I just get so sick of all the negativity surrounding Chrysler and with all the people that NEVER have something good to say. And when they do it's the lames argument I have ever heard!
        • 5 Years Ago
        How does someone really categorize a styling element a failure?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd say it's a roaring success -- it's distinctive, bold, and it lets air in. Job done. I see it being developed in a way the BMW grille has done. Honestly, I can't think of another grille so distinctive. Maybe the Ford truck one, but unlike BMW and Chrysler/Dodge, that doesn't work on smaller vehicles. Oh yeah -- Jeep.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Worlwide and particularly in Europe the Cherokee is the simbol of Jeep, the Wrangler is virtually unknown.
      In Europe we don't have lot of open spaces like you have in America, we don't really need a Wrangler................the soccer moms needs the Cherokee badly though :)

      But of course for Americans the Wrangler is the daddy for very good reasons.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As the old saying goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." Chrysler has been receiving some good news as of late, and I'm glad that Sergio Marchionne is at the helm.

      I also have a feeling once the wraps are removed and the dust settles, folks will be pleasantly surprised with the products coming to their local dealerships.

      Keep up the good work Chrysler!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Jeep tough competition from Range Rover?

      Who on earth would be cross-shopping a RR w/a Jeep?

      RR is like $80-90k. Jeep GC is like $35-50k.

      Both can rock crawl, but who would do that in an RR? BTW, RR has the worst reliability ratings of anything out there.
      Frank P. (Portchester, N.Y.)
      I have to laugh out loud with joy!!!! Only a year ago I was reading the biggest bunch of hate mail about FIAT and them running Chrysler! I am very glad Americans are so fickle and recognize the great opportunity. FIAT has taken hold of Chrysler fully and completely as their own and is shooting every arrow in the quiver to make FIAT and Chrysler a true world company! FIAT will ENGINEER the NEW Chrysler with the HIGHEST, CUTTING-EDGE Technology in the world today. Powerful engines that are great on gas and give off the LOWEST EMISSIONS of ANY CAR MANUFACTURER on the planet! 14 new and redesigned models in 2 to 3 years time! I loved Dodge / Chrysler / Plymoth year ago in the 70's and 80's. We have the makings of a great and fruitful marriage between FIAT and Chrysler Corp.. Forza FIAT / Chrysler!!!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Frank P. (Portchester, N.Y.)
        FIAT is not doing all of Chrysler's engineering. Sergio just hired a couple hundred new American engineers to work at Chrysler's tech center. There was nothing wrong with Chrysler engineering. They were just handicapped by Dumbler-Benz and Cerberus, with their horrible mismanagement and cost cutting. In fact, Dumber used Chrysler's Jeep engineers to build Mercedes an SUV that was not a total joke like the original M-Class.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would interpret the "symbol of jeep" comment as "flagship of jeep" as in europe, the symbol of the brand is always the flagship car. The Wrangler remains iconic, but if the grand cherokee is to become a flagship, it faces tough competition from the Range Rover.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should also rename the Liberty as the Cherokee.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Grand Cherokee

      Kill everything else with fire. Thx.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree... keep the line simple and good, it will have a following...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Spartan, I'd rather see an improved Patriot than the current Liberty. The Liberty's already got transfer case and skid plates, but I'd wager that the Liberty and Patriot would probably be pretty close to equal off-road, considering that they have pretty much the exact same ground clearance (I'm comparing both models' top-line off-road package here) but the Liberty is about a thousand pounds heavier and wider and longer, which isn't good for rock-climing. Don't forget that both vehicles can be optionally equipped with skid-plates, tow hooks and low-range gearing. The independent front and rear suspension is what really kills both off-road, and that flaw is shared equally.

        What the Patriot really needs is a non-crappy engine and maybe two inches more ground clearance and articulation. I think FIAT would be better off re-engineering the Pat suspension system for more articulation, ground clearance and travel, and manufacturing more Patriots equipped with Freedom Drive II than messing with the Liberty anymore. The Liberty is a big, heavy pseudo-4x4 whose position with off-roaders has been obliterated with the four-door Wrangler. At least the Patriot is more fuel-efficient and honest.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Angelo, sorry, screwed up there on the rear suspension.

        I don't think the Liberty is quite the same as the FJ off road. It might be able to tangle with a 4Runner but I think a properly-equipped FJ could take it.

        I still stand in saying the Liberty and Patriot are probably closer in capability than you might think. The Patriot can't hit the toughest trails of Moab, but it does a lot with the Caliber platform. What it really needs is more suspension travel, ground clearance and a torquier motor. I don't know if FIAT will do that, mind you, but a MultiAir-equipped off-road capable Patriot would be an interesting compact SUV.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Quote: ""The independent front and rear suspension is what really kills both off-road, and that flaw is shared equally.""

        The Liberty has a live axle with trailing links in the rear, not IRS.

        You're underestimating the Liberty's off road capability, it's pretty close to the FJ Crusier.

        You're right about there being no need for the Liberty with the 4 door Wrangler around.

        No one looking for genuine off road capability looks at the Liberty over the Wrangler.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Marchionne, that infusion needs to be here yesterday, buddy! Get me that Fiat 500 (sans badge engineering -- I don't want no damn Chrysler/Dodge 500!) by the end of the year and maybe I won't buy that Jetta TDI.

      [...it's a big 'maybe'....]
        • 5 Years Ago

        wow, somebody's having a bad day.
        I make one mention about ONE car and all of a sudden you assume that it applies to every car.
        I shouldn't have to explain this to you and it's sure as hell isn't worth arguing over.
        • 5 Years Ago

        One last thing: Although I haven't driven one, I have been lucky enough to sit inside of one at MotoGP Indy. It's perfect just the way it is and it should stay that way to draw traffic into FIAT showrooms. There are some other Fiats and Lancias that not only would look great with badge engineering for Dodge/Chrysler, they would be better cars to draw traffic into their showrooms.
        For instance, how about the Lancia Delta? I think it's gorgeous as a Chrysler: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/01/20/report-marchionne-says-chrysler-and-lancia-could-be-merged-with/
        How about the Fiat Doblo (urban car to compete with the Nissan Cube, Scion xB, Kia Soul?), Punto (compete with Ford Fiesta?), or Panda (compete with the CUV du jour?) re-badged for Dodge and Chrysler?
        • 5 Years Ago
        If a little badge on the front of a car is a make-or-break for you, you've got issues. A great car is a great car. A beautiful car is a beautiful car. A 2-inch-square plastic emblem on the front cannot change that.

        I would expect some insecure image-conscious Hollywood wanna-be type to buy for badge and ignore what's behind it, but I'm surprised an autoblog reader would be so focused on that one insignificant little piece that the important things like ride quality, performance, utility, style, economy, and driving pleasure would be ignored.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If we got a true (not rebadged) 500, I'd think about it as a 3rd car for daily commuting.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree those cars will make nice Chryslers and Dodges. I also agree that the 500 should be sold here as a FIAT. Luckily, that appears to be their plan. All I'm saying is that if the 500 was my dream car, and it was finally coming to the USA, I wouldn't walk away from it just because they decided to put a ram's head emblem on the front.
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