Fiat-Chrysler partnership will offer 7 new models to U.S. drivers

Since the announcement of the Chrysler-Fiat partnership last week, speculation has swirled about what models would come out of the American-Italian venture. Automotive News got the skinny on what’s on the way, and according to their unnamed sources, we can expect seven new vehicles in North America – four under the Chrysler brands and three as Alfa Romeos or Fiats.

The plan covers vehicles on four platforms, spanning from a micro-car to a mid-size sedan, with plants in North America being tasked with building most of the new models. Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico plant, which current builds the Dodge Journey and not-long-for-this-world PT Cruiser, will begin producing the Fiat 500 under the alliance.

What’s on the way?

The agreement involves two new minicars (A-segment) that share the same platform. The first is the aforementioned Fiat 500 and the second, a five-door hatchback based on the Fiat Panda, will likely be badged as a Chrysler or Dodge…

Moving up to the B segment, Chrysler could get the next generation Fiat Grande Punto, Alfa could begin selling the MiTo and the same platform could be used to create a small crossover for Chrysler.

On the mid-size front, Chrysler – which is in desperate need of both C- and D-segment models to replace the Caliber/Compass and Sebring/Avenger, respectively – could utilize Fiat’s new C-Evo architecture to create a new sedan and a more respectable compact car.

And what’s Fiat get out of all this? An inexpensive entry into the North American market, manufacturing capacity and a sizeable distribution network. And if you think Chrysler is getting all the goods, Fiat plans to distribute the Dodge Journey and Dakota pickup in South America, and will be able to utilize Chrysler’s new Phoenix V6 in its own line of products. Not quite balanced, but hardly a bad deal.

Probably no need to even note this in the United States; but, NO mention of diesel power. Which predominates? Ignorance or stupidity?

I know we need a campaign to remove the unbalanced excise tax system which leaves consumers with diesel costing more than gasoline. I know we need a campaign to overcome consumers’ pictures of leaking, smelly cars – courtesy of GM. But, having more power and better economy is sufficient motivation for me to make the switch.

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