Marchionne Details Chrysler's Future
Among other moves, Chrysler's new CEO says a minivan may be killed, and a Jeep revived.
Marchionne ditched the standard industry maxim of not discussing future products during a series of interviews during the Detroit show.
Here's a roundup of the details:
— The replacement for the Dodge Caliber arrives late this year.
— A pickup version of the Jeep Wrangler could be in the works. Marchionne wouldn't commit to selling such a vehicle in the United States, where it would compete with Ram trucks, but he said he is open to selling it in foreign markets.
— There likely will be only one version of the next generation of minivans. Chrysler will drop either the Dodge Grand Caravan or the Chrysler Town & Country. Whichever brand doesn't get the traditional minivan will receive a "people mover" without the usual sliding doors, said Marchionne.
In a move to boost fuel economy, 2013 Chrysler front-drive products will use a nine-speed automatic transmission. There also will be an eight-speed automatic transmission in select rear-drive vehicles, including the new 2013 Chrysler 300 hybrid and the Dodge Charger.
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Ranger91, agreed. You have to wonder what kind of drugs the Germans from Daimler-Benz were on when they decided to replace the Neon with the Caliber/Patriot/Compass. While there is nothing wrong with having a small FWD/AWD crossover, they should've included a sedan (and possible a coupe/hatchback) in the mix. It doesn't help that the Caliber is butt ugly and they dropped the only version worth having, the SRT-4.
With the experience Daimler-Benz has with European small cars, it should've been a snap to give Dodge a superior quality, economical vehicle to compete with the Corolla, Golf, or Civic. Considering the last generation of the Mini was using a Chrysler-based 1.6L 4-cylinder that achieves in the mid-30s for MPG, the had all the pieces in their hands.....and blew it.
Let's hope that FIAT doesn't make the same mistake. They have plenty of small cars to choose from for a platform and a range of highly efficient engines using their multi-air technology.