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.”
My friend Ash Sutcliffe of China Car Times reports that Chrysler will be bringing the Dodge Caliber to China, for production at the Guangzhou Auto / Fiat joint venture. (Read More…)
The AP [via Google] reports that NHTSA’s investigation of the pedals manufactured by CTS that were behind Toyota’s recent unintended acceleration recall has widened to include 2007 model-year Dodge Calibers. Dodge built 161,000 Calibers in the 2007 model-year, but according to Chrysler Group complaints of sticking accelerators only cover about 10,000 vehicles built between March and April of 2006… even though all 2007 model-year vehicles were built with CTS pedals. So what’s the difference between vehicles made in that five-week period and the rest of the 2007 model-year? According to Chrysler spokesfolks:
We have data that is telling us that there were a certain amount of complaints during that time period
For a moment, turn away from the uncertain prospects of Chrysler’s Fiat-directed future and consider the subject of this review as nothing other than one entry in the popular five-door hatchback segment of the North American compact car market.
That’s what I had to do, anyway, in order to rationalize driving and writing about a vehicle that a lot of folks would justifiably consider to be a loser car from a loser car company. The question is, is it really?
Today’s review of the Fiat Bravo is more than just a unique look at a European-market vehicle that will never be sold in the United States: it’s an(other) early look at the future of Chrysler. Sergio Marchionne has called the C and D segments “critical” for US-market success, and the C-Evo platform that lies beneath the Fiat Bravo tested today, will form the basis for planned 2012 replacements to the Caliber and PT Cruiser and possibly the re-launched Sebring and Avenger (reportedly in stretched form). Indeed, the Lancia-trimmed version, known as the Delta, was shown at the Detroit Auto Show in Chrysler-brand drag, apparently to prove how easy these rebadges will be. As cynical as this might seem, Mr Bronfer’s relatively positive review leaves little doubt that Fiat’s got more to offer the C and D segments than the aging, neglected Mitsubishi platform that currently underpins Chrysler’s offerings in these classes. In that sense, this is some of the most positive news we’ve heard about Chrysler’s future in a while.