Marchionne: Chrysler's Fiat infusion may come earlier than expected

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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