WITH CHRYSLER US having now emerged from bankruptcy following US Federal Court approval of Fiat taking the reins, details are now surfacing as to the model plans for the merged, and now freshly-capitalised, corporate giant.
The viability plan presented by Chrysler to the US Administration in February outlined not only the company?s future plans for its operations, but also its model plans under the merged entity. Some of those models we will no doubt see here in the Australian market.
Very close to the US action is The Detroit Free Press who has, quite clearly, managed to cast more than an eye over the documents prepared by Chrysler in making its restructuring case and given details of the company's future model plans.
What is clear is that the Chrysler of old will become a distant memory. It is to come in for the mother of all makeovers as Fiat and Alfa Romeo platforms and small car-technologies are incorporated into its model line-up.
That won?t mean the Dodge Ram will disappear, just that it will be crowded for elbow-room in Chrysler/Dodge showrooms by a brace of new fuel-efficient, and dynamically interesting, smaller cars.
Reportedly, the revitalised Chrysler brand will carry seven new Fiat and Alfa Romeo models including the up-coming replacements for the Alfa 147 and 159 models (which Alfa will reportedly be badging in Europe under the venerable names Milano and Giulia).
The tiny Fiat 500 will be produced for the North American market in Chrysler?s Toluca plant in Mexico. The 500?s platform may also come in for duty under a unique Chrysler or Dodge-branded model.
Chrysler will also get a subcompact based on the underpinnings of the Alfa Mito. This will enable the company to go head-to-head with the likes of Yaris, Jazz (Fit in the US), and Ford?s rampant Fiesta. This car will likely also carry the Dodge and, possibly, Jeep brands.
Interestingly, Alfa Romeo is expected to get Chrysler?s next-gen 300C platform as the basis for a larger sporting Alfa for the Euro market. (For Alfa fans, the prospect of a return to a rear-drive model under an Alfa badge will have them misty-eyed with expectation.)
As for technologies, Chrylser will gain access to Fiat?s Multiair variable valve-timing system to boost fuel economy and performance of Chrysler engines, as well as Fiat?s new dual-clutch transmissions. Fiat, in return, will pick up Chrysler?s Pentastar V6.
It is also expected that Fiat four-cylinder engines will begin production at Chrysler's Dundee engine plant in Michigan.
What this will mean for Australia and the model line-up in Chrysler/Jeep showrooms here, is uncertain.
Jerry Stamoulis Public Relations Manager for the Chrysler Group Australia is not yet able to shed any light on model changes we might expect to see here.
?It?s early days, we?re just waiting to see what may happen, but there is no information just yet,? Jerry told TMR.
Watch this space.