It doesn't take a seasoned auto analyst to look at Chrysler's current product portfolio and see a rag-tag unit of long-in-the-tooth cars, trucks and crossovers. And other than the introduction of an all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee in the next few months and the next Dodge Durango arriving later in the year, Chrysler's product portfolio appears to be pretty bleak in the near term.
Fiat is hard at work trying to come up with the best available use of its newly acquired Chrysler arm. Part of that plan may be to sell more Chrysler products in Europe, and Fiat just so happens to have an available factory to build them in. Automotive News is reporting that Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company would use its freshly purchased Carrozzeria Bertone plant near Turin, Italy. Fiat purchased the facility in July, just a few weeks after Chrysler exited chapter 11 bankruptcy.
It's pretty obvious at this point that Cerberus doesn't want to keep Chrysler, and turbulent economic realities have scuttled what few available prospects there would have been for new ownership. Some have openly wondered whether team Pentastar is even working on new products at all. Product development VP Frank Klegon insists that new Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models are on their way, and he points to the next 300/Charger as proof.
While new fuel economy regs have put the General's rear-wheel-drive offerings into a holding pattern (we think), Chrysler will soldier on with its RWD LX platform into the next decade. According to The Car Connection, Chrysler plans to makeover the 300 and Charger in 2011, but the reason the Pentastar people are keeping it rear-wheel-drive isn't to sate the public's lust for FR cars, rather there's no budget to develop a new front-wheel-drive platform.