TTAC alum Justin Berkowitz hit the jackpot with Chrysler, managing to make sense of the umpteenth new product rollout they’ve announced since getting in bed with Fiat, and posting the most accurate rendering of the new Jeep Liberty replacement (according to TTAC sources, it is dead on).
Apparently, Fiat will get five new models by 2015, though the brand has a habit of counting variants like the 500C and Abarth as separate models. Reports stated that Fiat is re-aligning their product range to include only variants of the 500 and Panda, however, our sources at Fiat scoffed at the notion during discussions with them at NAIAS. Apparently, eliminating all but two models would leave Fiat without the capability to produce enough volume globally. Fiat would also be left with even more excess capacity, and a lineup unsuited to markets in South America, where Fiat’s lineup is tailored to market conditions. What will apparently happen is that future models will take their cues from the 500 and Panda, though it’s hard to imagine how something like the Viaggio, a rebadged Dodge Dart, will do so. Playing the future product guessing game is too much of a crapshoot, but Fiat still has the Panda, Punto and Bravo in its stable. Who knows if this will even materialize. Previous reports suggested that an additional model, possibly the Punto or Panda, would come to Canada.
The other big story were the rash of delays; Alfa’s mainstream products won’t arrive until 2015, Jeep’s product onslaught is being staggered (new Liberty this year, Compass/Patroit next year, unnamed vehicle in 2015), as is Chrysler’s (new 200 in 2014, new 100 hatchback, new crossover and an unnamed model in 2015). Minivan plans seem to change by the hour, with nobody quite sure whether the Grand Caravan or Town & Country will be alive, dead, with sliding doors or turned into a crossover – it depends on the day. Dodge is now devoid of a new B-segment car and Avenger replacement. The mid-size Ram lifestyle pickup looks to be DOA, while a new Fiat-based large van will debut at Chicago.