• Jan 12, 2011
Dodge Nitro Detonator – Click above for high-res image gallery

Some might argue that the Dodge Nitro was ready for replacement, oh, about the day after it was first released back in 2006. If that's the case, then Dodge's midsize sport utility vehicle is certainly well past its sell-by date now that our calendars tell us we're sitting in 2011.

Apparently, nobody knows that truth better than Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne, who told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that the Nitro and its platform mate, the Jeep Liberty, are "the most significant hole in our product portfolio."

Noting that "it needs to be replaced," Marchionne suggested that a decision on a replacement for the Pentastar's uncompetitive midsize 'ute platform will be made in the next 40 days... though there's no indication whether that replacement will come from Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler or one of the other brands currently under the Fiat umbrella.

We also can't yet say whether the new SUV will be built at the Toledo North Assembly Plant like the current Nitro and Liberty, or whether Chrysler will use Fiat's C-Evo architecture as initially speculated.



Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 60 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe they should have thought about the bad motor they put in the 2001 Intrepid's and pulled those back and re did them. Instead of claiming it was a driver/owner issue by not changing the oil enough with "sludge" being the reason behind the "failure". O owned one and was lucky I got 75K miles on it when I threw a rod driving 72 done the highway. I had routine maitenance on the car. In fact the oil was changed the week before. There was NO precursors to it just blowing up and leaving me stranded for over 3 hours and in the dark on the feeway by myself. I found out only after that there was THOUSANDS of people having the IDENTICAL problem with the motor blowing ffrom Dodge's issue of knowing how poorely the ymade that motor. I wish I had found all that out BEFORE I had bought the car. And, beleive me I do my homework on big purchases. Who goes and looks for class actions suites and all a few years after they buy a car? I will NEVER BUY DODGE AGAIN! It doesn't matter that I "like" a few of their cars. They didn't honor their warranties nor their work. I'm a single mother of 2 and dont have 4200.00 just lying around to throw at a new engine for one that should have lasted a whole lot longer. Everything I found out about that after makes me very mad that I just had to donate the car and lose everything from it!
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Intrepid had an extremely hot 24 valve, double overhead cam V-6. It was sometimes bought by new car buyers who actually hated Chrysler. They drove like Satan til 31K miles, and dumped it as a "cream puff". Honda V-6, Toyota and Lexus hot rods, etc. can be the same kind of used car garbage. Bad people who misuse a very good product, then dump it as something that is, they claim very good. Sounds like spies from Ford or GM, because that's who it is. lol
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Liberty doesn't get enough credit. There's nothing else its size with a comparable tow rating or rough road capability. It's also highly maneuverable in tight spots, unlike most SUVs. A Wrangler is probably just as good, but some people want something a little more modern.

      The one year it had a diesel was pretty sweet, too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think Nissan would argue your point.

        The Xterra, available with a better engine and a MUCH better interior.
      harry
      • 3 Years Ago
      dodge sux...nuff said
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harry
        So what do you think is hot? Real estate in Tokyo is expensive garbage on shaky, earthquake prone ground, with disgusting population density.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Marchionne's candor is refreshing.
      I almost doesn't matter what they replace the Nitro with because its almost gotta be better no matter what. Also if Marchionne is the one deciding which direction their mid-sized cross will go, chances are its gonna be the right move because it sounds like this guy can really read the market.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm really starting to like this Marchionne guy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ^
        Well yes and no.
        I mean car development is a multi-year affair (which few people realize). Obviously some of the tweaks put into place on the updated models were started before Fiat stepped into the picture, but a lesser CEO wouldn't have green-lit them and instead said "screw it, we'll save some money and wait for the all new redesign in 2 years".

        Instead Marchionne was clear that these were short-term changes and an all new model will be here in a couple of years. It is going to be very costly for Chrysler to retool the stamping dies for all new hoods and fenders for cars that will get redesigned in ~2 years anyways. And that is not even counting the all new interiors. Paying for that on a 3+ year old car is rather unheard of. Most other execs would have just slapped on a few chrome pieces and be done with it.

        Concerning the candor issue, well I have to disagree with it being easy since he wasn't at the helm... looking at other executives, most of them would defend their products to the end - no matter how craptacular they were.

        Ultimately, yes, the true test for Marchionne will come in ~3 years when new models designed under his supervision will finally hit, but so far so good in my opinion.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I've seen what has come out of Chrysler since Fiat took over and almost all of it is positive and points to even better products in the future.
        Nothing that I have seen points to Marchionne being blind to what customers want.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Funny how so many feel this way, considering that all the "new" products coming out recently are ones that were in the pipe before Sergio was a player. And as far as his "candor" about current or recent Chrysler product, of course he'll have no problem pointing out flaws in product he had no involvement with (read responsibility for). Helps to make him look like more of a miracle worker. I'll reserve my judgment about his involvement in Chrysler until after I can see what he "personally" brought to the company.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think this is a good looking vehicle. Needed some power and a nicer (read higher quality) interior.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nitro and the entire Chrysler range.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Diego3336 - Uh, yeah, so, what car is left for you to like? And, why don't you like Alfas, and which Maserati don't you like?
        • 3 Years Ago
        And 90% of Fiat, 100% of Alfa, 100% of Lancia and at least a half of Maserati too.

        Way to go Marchionne
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the next Nitro and Liberty should share a common platform, too. I think that Jeep desperately needs a RWD small SUV, and it's going to take time getting one.
      I think that the Mercedes C Class platform would be perfect for the 2 SUVs, it would cater to Jeep loyalists' demands by giving a RWD platform, and it would add to the "sporty" image Fiat wants Dodge tohave by giving Dodge a sporty RWD SUV.
      The Jepp (Cherokee, anyone?) should be slighly smaller than the Dodge (VW Tiguan size),, and should be priced at around $21,000. Retro style it after the original Cherokee, and offer a 2 door.
      The Dodge(keep the Nitro name) should keep the styling cues that made the Dodge popular. Price it at around $24,000. Make it slightly big for a compact SUV (GMC Terrain, Mazda CX-7).
      Both should have around 180 hp.
      In my opinion, if these two are built, these could be the best things that ever happened to Chrysler.
      I just hope that Mr. Marchionne is reading this.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sorry but that is TERRIBLE "advice".

        Dont quit your day job
      • 3 Years Ago
      Probably alone on this, but I think this vehicle design-wise was rather interesting and could have succeeded. Better interior, Trail Rated version and better door/handle feel.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Jeep Liberty is "trail rated".
        • 3 Years Ago
        I like expressive vehicles more than conservative vehicles myself, even if it's not one I'm in the market for (like this).

        I'm disappointed to hear it can't do what it looks like it can do.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Putting the Dodge name on what should have been a JEEP Cherokee didn`t make sense to me.
      The first version of the Jeep Liberty was nice . This should have been the new cherokee under the Grand version.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Dodge M80 was what people said they liked...then they turned it into a SUV from a truck and called it Nitro

      http://lh4.ggpht.com/_BxH3qp1s4KI/RgtMPBIEO1I/AAAAAAAAAB8/W6Q1u3Rt2w8/002.jpg
      • 3 Years Ago
      What I take this guy is doing is looking at each line of vehicles and seeing what is duplicated and then deleting one of them. Like the Caravan/Town & Country vans. the Liberty/Nitro. Why have 2 similar vehicles when you can make one with as many options as a person wants and keep the cost down. He also seems to take a realistic look and voices his opinion on things, like the Jeep Commander, he said it was butt ugly and have no idea who bought them. The Dodge Journey looks so much like a mini-van that I do not even notice them for what they are supposed to be. Maybe make the Liberty into a updated Cherokee or mini-Grand Cherokee. Kind of like the Chevy Traverse/Equinox......
      • 3 Years Ago
      How is that terrible advice? It satisfies the needs of Jeep loyalists and the Dodge brand.
        • 3 Years Ago
        That was supposed to be a reply to the guy with the Challenger as his picture
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