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Mike Stevens | Sep 25, 2009

SERGIO MARCHIONNE, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, is pushing to have a handful of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge models redesigned and on the market in the next 18 months - projects that would normally take two to three years.

The Chrysler Town & Country (Grand Voyager in Australia), Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot are all earmarked for immediate overhauls, joining the recently redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The move sits at odds with reports in July that the company would be unlikely to offer any new models in the next two years.

Along with the Grand Cherokee, an all-new Chrysler 300C is already in development, the project having started before Fiat became involved with the carmaker.

Reports in June suggested that Chrysler was then considering putting the 200C concept into production as a replacement for the Sebring.

The next-generation Dodge Avenger is expected to switch to a real-wheel-drive layout, using either a Fiat-built platform or the same LX platform underpinning the Dodge Charger.

Desperate to turn turn the image of its brands around as soon as possible, Chrysler's new boss has reportedly told the carmaker's engineering, design and product development departments to expect a lot of late nights over the next year.

The struggling US manufacturer, recently saved from almost certain oblivion by a new alliance with Italian carmaker Fiat, is expected to re-hire a number of key staff laid off during the company's restructuring.

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