Click above for a high-res gallery of the Fiat 500
Since the announcement of the Chrysler-Fiat partnership last week, speculation has swirled about what models would come out of the American-Italian venture. Automotive News got the skinny on what's on the way, and according to their unnamed sources, we can expect seven new vehicles in North America – four under the Chrysler brands and three as Alfa Romeos or Fiats.
The plan covers vehicles on four platforms, spanning from a micro-car to a mid-size sedan, with plants in North America being tasked with building most of the new models. Chrysler's Toluca, Mexico plant, which current builds the Dodge Journey and not-long-for-this-world PT Cruiser, will begin producing the Fiat 500 under the alliance.
Chrysler's executive vice president for product development, Frank Klegon, said, "We don't have an A-segment vehicle, and we don't have a B-segment vehicle, and our C-segment vehicle [Dodge Caliber] is in the next stage of renewal. That creates some opportunities for us." So what's on the way? Hit the jump to find out.
The agreement involves two new minicars (A-segment) that share the same platform. The first is the aforementioned Fiat 500 and the second, a five-door hatchback based on the Fiat Panda, will likely be badged as a Chrysler or Dodge. This should help both automakers with the 2011 U.S. fuel economy standards and give Chrysler a serious sub-compact offering.
Moving up to the B segment, Chrysler could get the next generation Fiat Grande Punto, Alfa could begin selling the MiTo and the same platform could be used to create a small crossover for Chrysler. There's also talk of Chrysler being afforded access to Fiat's 1.4- and 1.8-liter four-cylinder direct-injection engines. Chrysler could produce both at one of its own factories, likely in turbocharged guise at its Dundee, Michigan plant, but a source indicates that Chrysler is only interested in the 1.4-liter variant.
On the mid-size front, Chrysler – which is in desperate need of both C- and D-segment models to replace the Caliber/Compass and Sebring/Avenger, respectively – could utilize Fiat's new C-Evo architecture to create a new sedan and a more respectable compact car. The C-Evo underpinnings will be used first on the Alfa Romeo 147 replacement, currently codenamed project 940, which takes some stylistic cues from the 8C Competitizione.
And what's Fiat get out of all this? An inexpensive entry into the North American market, manufacturing capacity and a sizeable distribution network. And if you think Chrysler is getting all the goods, Fiat plans to distribute the Dodge Journey and Dakota pickup in South America, and will be able to utilize Chrysler's new Phoenix V6 in its own line of products. Not quite balanced, but hardly a bad deal.
[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]