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Mike Stevens | Nov 3, 2009

LESS THAN TWO DAYS before new Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is due to reveal Fiat's plans for its troubled American partner, new details have come to light.

According to Reuters, people "with direct knowledge of the plan" have confirmed that Chrysler will withdraw all but the Jeep brand from markets outside North America.

Jeep will remain an international brand because of its iconic status and global name recognition, while Chrysler, Dodge and the new Ram brand will be restricted to the North American markets, the Reuters source said.

On an overall level, focusing on North America would seem a logical move: in recent years the North American market has has accounted for around 90 percent of Chrysler's sales.

While the possibility of an almost total withdrawal from international markets will be ringing alarm bells for Chrysler Australia, the centrepiece of the plan is expected to be the introduction of new fuel-efficient models to the US, using Fiat-developed technology.

The Chrysler brand is expected to share and draw most of its platforms from Lancia, which Fiat also owns.

chrysler-fiat

The Reuters source said that Fiat will take over development of the rear-wheel-drive platform scheduled to underpin the next generation 300C, scrapping its own existing rear-wheel-drive project in Europe.

Alfa Romeo will add an SUV to its future line-up, using platforms drawn from Chrysler, the source added.

Marchionne - CEO of both companies after Fiat took a 20 percent stake in Chrysler in June - is due to brief the press on November 4 (early November 5 in Australia) on the Italian carmaker's plans to revitalise Chrysler's products and sales.

Chrysler Australia could not be reached due to a public holiday. A Chrysler spokesperson in the US, contacted by Reuters, declined to comment.

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