By on June 11, 2012

Unlike Mexico, that other Latin American economic juggernaut, Brazil (sorry Argentina), has not really had a lot of success exporting cars to North America. Now, that is all about to change.  Picture a Dodge cross and new back-lights and there you have it. Coming soon to a dealer near you. Yes, this Fiat will be outfitted as a Dodge and sold in all fine Chrysler-Dodge stores all over America and Canada.

This will be a Fiat do Brasil’s first try at taking a bite out of America’s cherry. The only ‘Brazilian” maker that has had any real success at getting a piece of the US has been Volkswagen. There was the Brazilian Voyage that became the American Fox for instance. Or the sporty fiberglass classic Puma, with all-VW mechanicals. The Voyage, or Fox, had more than 2,000 bits and pieces changed to be road worthy in America. How many changes will be necessary for this Fiat Grand Siena-cum-Dodge to be road legal in America? At this point, it’s anybody’s guess.

As is the name. Dodge Grand Siena? Doesn’t sound very American, not to mention that most Americans will not think it’s so grand, size-wise. Also, there’s that Toyota thing that goes by that name in the US (which is weird, since it’s like a bit like if Fiat introduced the “Nagoya”).  I suggest Chattanooga. American like apple pie.

The power train will not be Brazilian. Fiat doesn’t produce or source automatics in Brazil. Here, the car can be fitted with a 1.4L 8v good for just 88 ponies or a 1.6L 16v with 116 horses. This latest engine is a development of the 1.6 present in the first BMW Mini. As you’ll remember, this engine was produced in a Chrysler-BMW joint venture in Brazil. When Daimler swallowed Chrysler, the JV came under. Later, Fiat bought the factory, updated the engine and called it good. So, in America it’ll probably have the same engine-transmission combo found in the 500 and produced in Mexico.

As you try to wrap your head around the concept of a Brazilian built Dodge, I’ll tell you who Fiat, er… Chrysler, is targeting with this car. If you fancy the Nissan Versa, the new Dodge might be your number. At 4.29m (14.07 ft.) in length, a wheelbase of 2.51m (8.23 ft.), 1.7m (5.58 ft.) in width, 1.5m (4.92 ft.) tall, 1,094kg (2.411,86 lb.) and a trunk of 520L (18.36 ft.³), it is 16cm (6.3 in.) shorter, has a wheelbase a significant 9cm (3.54 in.) less long, is 1 cm (0.39 in.) wider, 1 cm (0.39 in.) shorter, 26 kg (57.32 lb.) heavier and has a trunk larger by 80 L (2.83 ft.³) than its Japanese rival. What’s good for Brazil is good for America?

The Palio, the hatch from which the Grand Siena originate,s has an interesting history. It was developed by Fiat for emerging market nations. The allegation was that the Punto was too sophisticated for the harsh conditions found in these lands. The Palio was born simpler and more robust than its European cousin. The new Dodge will then be based on this Third World wonder.

 

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45 Comments on “Bota Atenção América: This Is Your New Dodge!...”


  • avatar
    Type57SC

    That front clip is a disaster so any Dodge-ifying they do can only improve it. Rest of teh exterior looks fine. interior is a bit minimalist and unsubstantial for a Dodge but that’s probably easy to alter. Might be a better bet to just bring it to Canada given the size of the thing.

    How does it compare to a 500L, other than the sedan/hatch difference?

  • avatar
    vwbora25

    CAn we get it in a hatch?

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Other than only coming in a sedan form, it’s an attractive little package. That dash is quite stylish and is NOT a sea of the same shade of black/gray, nice.

    For Type57SC,

    The 500L is considered a B segment car, don’t know it’s exact dimensions so this car may be similar in size, though as Marcelo indicates, it may be a bit smaller than the 500L but still remain in the same size class.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It’s nice to see the bailout of Chrysler resulting in jobs for Brazilians. Coming soon Chinese made GM products. Remember this next time someone tells you they are saving American jobs with your tax money.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Look Ma, a troll…

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Considering the number of Chevrolets and Fords sold in Brazil, it is only fitting that Brazil gets to sell a few vehicles here, even if they are still, technically, American cars being sold back to us.
      You just don’t get it, do you? The factory jobs get all the press, but it’s the value-added jobs, patents and intellectual property that count.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Trolololo…

    • 0 avatar

      Refer to billfrombuckhead below.

      @Carbiz: Good points. The Siena was developed in Brazil. Some of the engineering was also done here. This is one of the reasons I like what Fiat is doing. They invest heavily in Brazil. And not just factory jobs.

      FYI, the Dodge Journey (new model) has been well received. Specifically even American writers talk of how the suspension has improved. Well, that suspension development was largely done in Brazil by Brazilian engineers when they were developing, adapting and turning the Journey into the Freemont. Later, the know-how was exported and applied for Dodge Journeys sold in the US and Canada.

  • avatar
    daviel

    no hatch – no sale (to me)

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Derek:

    This is the first time I’ve heard anything about a Brazilian Fiat coming to the US. It’s a very intriguing prospect, but from where did you get this news?

    Automobile recently interviewed Sergio Marchionne, and while he laid out several new models between now and 2017, he made no mention of any Brazilian Fiat-based sub-Dart Dodge coming to the U.S.

    http://rumors.automobilemag.com/chryslers-future-u-s-product-plan-journey-srt6-confirmed-dodge-durango-dies-145119.html

    • 0 avatar

      Hi philadh,

      The by-line is wrong. The article is mine.

      This bit of info has been kicked around for a while now in Brazil. The prime suspect however was that the Linea would make it to America in some shape or form. The is no official word from Fiat yet AFAIK.

      What has fast tracked this may well have been Brazilian indusrial policy. As the free tarade agreement between Mexico and Brazil is now limited by quotas, the 500, which is selling well in Brazil (and Freemont) would have had their impórts restricted. By exporting the Grand Siena, Fiat will be able to import greater number of cars from Mexico. I bet this is why this was decided rather quickly.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Well, at least it has better proportions than the ungainly Versa or Fiesta sedans. If they stack ‘em deep and sell ‘um cheap, it could be a mild success, and certainly better than Dodge’s current B-segment offering…oh wait, Dodge doesn’t have a current B-segment offering. Should definitely offer a hatch model too though.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Will it be profitable, though? Remember that this car will enter a very price-conscious market in the US. The car costs $17,000 in Brazil, which is the upper price range for its class in the US. So it might have to be priced lower. Plus it’ll probably have to have more features for the US, perhaps more airbags, etc. Plus bigger engines and transmission, which as you said had to be imported from somewhere else to be installed in the car. All this so the car can be sold at a lower price in a place far away from where it’s built.

    Of course it might pay off if it’s successful and sold in big volume, but that’s far from a guarantee.

    • 0 avatar

      Mr. Whopee

      Remember that the Brazilian price is more than 50% taxes. Plus here, it’s not at the bottom of the food chain and margins are for varied reasons much higher than anywhere else. So I’m thinking it’ll be right along Versa’s prices and lower than Fiesta.

      Have don’t have any insight into this but I believe something around 12 to 14k is quite doable.

      Take a look at Honda City. Built in Brazil and sold in Mexico, in that North American country the price is lower by over 40%.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        It occurs to me that the Honda City is basically a Fit in sedan form. One wonders if sending some of those north of the Rio Grande might help out with Honda’s B-segment problems.

    • 0 avatar

      Could well be bumpy ii. The City is roughly the size of the Fiesta while the Grand Siena, like the Versa, is larger. If the Siena-turned-Dodge is successful this could be the start of a Brazilian invasion. I mean Chevy has the Brazilian Cobalt (no relation to American Chevy Cobalt) while VW have Voyage. All dispute in Brazil the space the Versa has pretty much to itself in Aerica. Simple, robust, reliable, value for money place in the market.

      Size-wise Fiesta, Voyage are more A segment cars growing into B segment. Versa and Cobalt are more B segment car spilling ito the C category. The Siena somehow straddles the space between those first two cars and the latter ones.

      At least i Brazil though, they all dispute the same consumer, alongside Renault Logan.

      For the importance of this segment worldwide and who knows maybe even important in America now, see a previous post of mine on TTAC on Peugeot 301.

      Thanks for reading!

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Marketing this as a dodge could end up being a really bad idea, the public image of dodge can’t take another hit if they expect to survive.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Siena? don’t we have a Sienna van already, I’m so confused! Don’t trust these Latin American-built cars, (I’m from there, I should know) Mexico on the other hand seems to be building some pretty decent hardware lately, Ford’s auto stick not included, it is a design issue NOT a manufacturing one that plagues those things.

    • 0 avatar

      Hw about the Fiesta engine? Do you like it? It’s built here so…

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        the reason no one talks about the Fiesta engine is that it is attached to the horrible Fiesta auto transmission, which gets all the attention.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. While the Fiesta engine may not be brilliant there’s really nothing against it. It just goes to show that quality of car systems have more to do, like you pointed out, with engineering and design than manufacturing. I believe variances in manufacturing quality has more to do with quality control than geography. That is not to say though that this control isn’t done better in some countries than in others. As always, YMMV!

  • avatar
    Vipul Singh

    Marcelo: are you saying that this is based on the A178 platform rather than the nuovo Palio one? Or is it that the ‘nuovo’ Palio is not so new, after all, which would surprise me, as the hard points seem quite different from the A178 Palios (editions 1-4)

    • 0 avatar

      This car is actually a hybrid if you will. The front suspension for example is from that new Palio (not A178), which rests on a version of Fiat new small car platform. The back suspension is taken from the one in the European Punto. The car’s back axle is actually wider than the front, which I believe is quite rare in modern cars. But it’s what supposed to make it quite a good car to drive.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Just look at the Fiat 500, everyone thought it was gonna be the second coming of the Yugo,but it has not been so at all, only time will tell if long term reliability is good or not so good, but at least they seem to be put together rather well.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Chrysler has invested vast sums in improving it’s American factories and products. That being said. it would be poor business decision not to link Chrysler with Fiat of Brasil in some way. Since Fiat is selling Mexican built cars in Brazil with many American made engines and parts, fair trade demands we buy some cars back from them. No one except General Motors Chevy’s Sonic builds a car in this class in the US.

    For armchair CEO’s keeping track.

    Chrysler has invested 1.8 billion in the Jefferson North facility, 1.7 billion in Toledo, 700 million in Belvedere, 1.3 billion in Kokomo, 850 million in Sterling Height, 114 million in Trenton and 72 million in Perrysburg. I’d say their trying to build cars in the USA.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Dodge.. Chrysler really should bring the hatchback Palio here to the US. It is a great little car and so it the little truck version.
    If they stripped it down as a bare bones entry level with a 1.6l engine and try to price is as the cheapest car in the US it may well be a hit. Cheap as chips, tough as all hell, reliable and fun to drive!

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately the Strada pickup might not survive. As mentioned in response to another post, the new Palio/Siena rests on Fiat’s new global small car platform. The SW version (Weekend) and pick-up have not been developed. The SW will be substituted by a minivan/CUV thing while the Strada depends. In its case it could be developed after the future new CUV or if Fiat concludes a deal with Suzuki, something could be done with a Suzuki ‘jeep’.

      So, for now, and as you get used to Fiat you soon learn that this could change tomorrow, the SW is dead and the trucklet is dying. both short sighted decisions in my mind. Both are dead in terms of development, of course. Both will live on on the old platfrom. Both are getting a re fresh in design BTW.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Well, a high volume sedan in the 500 size class makes sense. Obviously, it can’t be called Siena, and Chrysler-Fiat reached back to Chrysler history for Dart so… Not Neon (too soon). Maybe Spirit? Or Horizon? Wait – the last Dodge small import was Colt! They sold a lot of them, and they weren’t too badly received. That seemed to be the rationale for the Dart name, and if the Dart sells, I’ll bet Sergio goes to the well again.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    I can see this coming to Americas a Fiat but not a Dodge. Perfect showroom mate to the 500.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    The Colt is a great name and they most definitely need to drop the GRAND from the title.

    It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against the Versa. I personally kinda like the Versa, I see it as good solid, simple transportation and I wish they would make some larger vehicles built around that idea.

    • 0 avatar

      Grand is the name for Brazil as the Grand Siena is quite bigger than the outgoing Siena. It’s a way to emphasize the new dimensions. Fiat BTW did the sme in Europe where the new Punto is also known as Grand Punto. Also Chrysler did it with Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. But if the car makes it to America rest assured the name will be made more American.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Looks a little like the last gen Focus sedan from the side.

  • avatar
    Flipper

    From the profile & tail, I see the Buick Verano.

  • avatar
    frojasf

    Hello Marcelo,

    Please accept my apologies for writing here a question which is not directly related to the topic of this article.
    I have read many of your posts, and I really wanted to get in touch with you to ask you a question.
    I live in the US now, but I will move to Sao Paulo in September to live there for 2 years. Do you know if I can bring my car with me to Brazil? If so, do you know how expensive are the taxes to enter the car?

    I would be very grateful if you could give me a hand on this issue since I keep finding contradictory information on the web.

    Best regards,
    Francisco

    • 0 avatar

      Hi Francisco!

      Sorry I only catched your post today!

      If your car is more than ten years old, it can be imported to Brazil on allegations of historical significance. This means it’ll be imported free of tax.

      Now, wait a minute, the more I think about it I’m not really sure if the time limit is 10 years or 25…Sorry, would have to check. If younger than that the taxes are so high it would be nigh impossible to do. At least from a financial viewpoint. I’m sure there are many law offices that could help you with that. Hope it helped!

      Thaks for reading!

      • 0 avatar
        frojasf

        Hi Marcello!
        Thanks a lot for your reply, it was actually very helpful.
        I guess the time limit is 25 years, right? Do you know where could I find this information? I tried with the Brazilian Consulate here in the US but they don’t know.

      • 0 avatar
        frojasf

        Hi Marcelo!
        Thanks a lot for your reply, it was actually very helpful.
        I guess the time limit is 25 years, right? Do you know where could I find this information? I tried with the Brazilian Consulate here in the US but they don’t know.


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