You’d think with an owner by the name of Fiat, Chrysler would be knee-deep in small cars. Just the opposite is true. The Freep complains:
“Chrysler, for all of its recent improvements, is missing out on one of the biggest opportunities of the year: a chance to grab a larger slice of the small-car segment while Japanese automakers try to rebuild their car supplies after the March earthquake and tsunami that disrupted operations.”
Chrysler’s long-in-the-tooth small Caliber is losing sales. It is missing out on a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” (Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com), presented by a confluence of rising gas prices and a disrupted supply of Japanese cars.
A new Caliber, based of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, is due in 2012. By that time, the Japanese will long have recovered. The Japanese makers are not waiting for the supply to catch up anyway. Says Anwyl at Edmunds:
“Japanese manufacturers have gotten more aggressive in terms adding to incentives; allowing incentivized vehicles to be ordered with delivery to be taken later; and pressure on dealers for margins — either with pre-discounted lease incentives or simply “talking down” higher prices.”
To pass the time while waiting for the new small Caliber, here a bergmannesque preview:
Until the Italian firepower arrives, the small Caliber has no other choice than dodgeing bullets.