The Fiats are coming: Up to seven Fiat vehicles for North America
Products from the planned Chrysler-Fiat alliance announced last week are coming into view. North America would likely get seven Fiat-engineered models sold under the Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands. The domestic-badged vehicles would likely be built in North American assembly plants and sold through Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers.
The plan includes building vehicles on four Fiat platforms ranging from the microcar to midsize segments. Automotive News reports that both Fiat and Chrysler hope to hammer out the last details by the end of April.
Chrysler will start with retooling its Toluca, Mexico, factory, which will have assembly floor space when the PT Cruiser goes out of production later this year. The factory also builds the Dodge Journey, but that vehicle will stay in production for the foreseeable future.
In the minicar segment, Fiat will supply the 500 - likely built in Mexico - as well as a five-door hatchback based on the next-generation Panda. The five-door hatchback will be sold as a Chrysler or a Dodge and, if the current Panda (pictured) is any indication, the vehicle would compete strongly against the Ford Fiesta.
In the subcompact segment, North America should get the Alfa Romeo MiTo premium subcompact - which would compete against the Volksagen GTI and Audi A3 - as well as a Chrysler or Dodge-branded vehicle probably based off of the same platform but built in North America.
The C-segment, or compact segment, would see a Dodge Caliber replacement built on Fiat's C-Evo platform. The upcoming Alfa Romeo 149 would also be sold in North America.
In the midsized segment, a stretched version of the compact segment architecture would underpin a Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger replacement that would spawn a plug-in hybrid variant. The Chrysler 200C show car exhibited in Detroit could form the basis for the midsize sedan's style.
The agreement between Fiat and Chrysler should be signed by March 31 if everything goes as planned.
In exchange for the platforms, Fiat would receive the Journey crossover and a version of the Dodge Dakota to sell in emerging markets, according to Automotive News. Fiat would also likely gain access to Chrysler's upcoming, modern "Phoenix" V6 engine family.
Distribution for Alfa Romeo is still unclear. It's likely that the 159 and Brera would make their way over to North America at the same time as the MiTo and 149, but the likelihood of Alfa Romeos being sold through existing Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealers seems in doubt. To compete with established German, Japanese and Swedish brands, Alfa Romeo will need a sales and marketing force equipped to contend with premium car buyers.