Chrysler Reboots Companywide Product Plans: Goldmine of Info, Lots of Delays, Six Alfas?
Old Plan: Subcompact B-segment crossover, Compass/Patriot replacement, and Liberty replacement all in 2013.
New Plan: Whoa, slow down there, Maestro. Liberty replacement in 2013, ComPatriot replacement in 2014, subcompact crossover in 2015.
Secrets Revealed: Liberty replacement debuts at the New York auto show in April, sales begin in May. It’s the first use of the nine-speed auto.
Cliffhangers: What’s the other new model listed for 2015? We know no more Jeeps get SRT versions, sadly.
Old Plan: Subcompact B-segment car and Avenger replacement in 2013, Grand Caravan in 2014.
New Plan: B-segment car is dead, the Avenger isn’t being replaced (though it may vanish), Grand Caravan delayed to 2015.
Secrets Revealed: The suits knew the Dart powertrain lineup was a mess from the beginning, and will be “realigned” later this year. Think 184-hp 2.4-liter engine and six-speed automatic.
Cliffhangers: Is the Dart a surreptitious Avenger replacement? Marchionne describes it as a “D-segment sedan for C-segment price.” Will Dodge or Chrysler (or both) get the new minivan?
Old Plan: Large and small vans in 2012, possibly a unibody mid-size pickup in 2011.
New Plan: Large Fiat van rebadged as Promaster debuts at Chicago auto show in February, smaller Promaster City van in 2014.
Secrets Revealed: Marchionne expects Ram to join Jeep as the primary driver of the group’s growth in the U.S. for the next year or more.
Cliffhangers: Are they really giving up on the Durango-platformed mid-size pickup?
Old Plan: Don’t break SRT into a separate brand.
New Plan: Break SRT into a separate brand. Order new stationery. Throw parade celebrating success. Refreshes in 2014 and 2015, rear-drive Barracuda in 2016.
Secrets Revealed: Viper may get a light refresh in 2014 or 2015.
Cliffhangers: How is SRT expected to be a standalone brand if it has only one unique model for the next three years?
Old Plan: Sell more 500s than Mini can sell hatchbacks.
New Plan: Say Mini has never been the target. 500L in 2013, 500X crossover and five new models in 2015, another one the next year.
Secrets Revealed: Fiat counts variants like the the 500 and 500C as separate models, so the “five new models” thing is misleading.
Cliffhangers: Seriously though, six new models or variants? Fiat said in December that it wants every future model to be a 500 or Panda spinoff. And we ain’t getting the Panda.
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Ram 1500 SLT V6 8-Speed Automatic
- Photos and Info: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: New Looks, New Trim, New Diesel
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo
Old Plan: Relaunch in U.S. in
2012 2013 with 4C, SUV, other models soon after.
New Plan: Begin work on future delay announcements. 4C sports car in 2013. Four models in 2015, one more in 2016.
Secrets Revealed: “Relaunch Alfa in the U.S.” really meant “Offer one low-volume Alfa in the U.S.,” which already happened with the 8C.
Cliffhangers: Will this plan for Alfa’s return be any different than the others? Will the models it’s planning to bring ever come to exist anywhere? Their development has been delayed for eons. Will VW finally offer the right price to buy Alfa from Fiat?