We know it's coming, we just don't know when. During the long-winded marathon set of product announcements and long-term strategies laid out by Fiat and Chrysler head Sergio Marchionne, it was revealed that both Chrysler and Dodge would get new compact vehicles to replace the no-longer-in-production PT Cruiser and unloved Caliber hatchback.
Both machines were scheduled for release mid-year 2012, and, assuming things are still on track, you can be sure the Detroit-based automaker plans to make a splash with the unveiling of its new compact warriors. After all, both the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze have been extremely well received by both the press and new car shoppers, and Dodge has nothing that can directly compete.
That said, there's no bigger place to make a big splash for an American automaker than the Detroit Auto Show. Wowing the home-town crowds and receiving international coverage from the media would be a major boon for Chrysler, so it comes as little surprise to read reports that Dodge is eying the Detroit show floor in January of 2012 for a hopeful debut of its 2013 Dodge Caliber replacement.
According to Wards Auto, only the Dodge small car is confirmed for debut in Detroit; we don't know what that means for a would-be PT Cruiser replacement (Chrysler 100 anyone?). In any case, expect the next-gen compact (which may or may not keep the Caliber moniker) to be based on the Fiat C-Evo platform with slightly larger dimensions for the U.S. market.
We don't yet know what it will look like, but if you're thinking Alfa Romeo Giulietta with a Dodge-appropriate fascia and styling cues, we bet you're probably not far off.