By on March 23, 2009

Automotive News [sub] provides “tantalizing hints” (source?) about which six vehicles “could be” built in Chrysler factories and sold in Chrysler dealerships under their Italian brand names. At the U.S. taxpayer’s expense. [NB: Count the above Panda Jeep twice for two different engine permutations (1.2 and 1.4-liter) in the new Chrysler tradition.]

• Fiat 500 minicar: Big hit, retro hatch, possible Mini [ED: MINI] fighter
• Alfa Romeo MiTo: Stylish 3-door hatchback 
• Alfa Romeo Milano: Compact sedan, will replace current Alfa 147
• Alfa Romeo Giulia: Sleek mid-size sedan, will replace current Alfa Romeo 159 
• Alfa Romeo compact SUV: Compact utility vehicle hinges on Alfa Romeo’s re-entry into U.S.

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19 Comments on “Bailout Watch 452: ChryCo/Fiat’s U.S. Six Pack?...”


  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Wishful thinking and pipedreams…

    So, Chryslers fortunes are gonna be put on shipping an Italian niche brand? And how much volume was that again?

    Seems to me that this is Studebaker-Mercedes Redux.

  • avatar
    AKM

    As much as I like Fiat, the idea of Italian cars built in Chrysler factories by disgruntled workers, with a CEO “fabled” for his cost-cutting abilities, and with government loans, just does not quite point in the right direction from a build quality perspective….

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    I’d think that if Chysler is to truly survive, they at least need Chrysler branded vehicles. This just looks more and more like Fiat using Chrysler as their means of entry back into the U.S. market. How exactly does this keep Chrysler alive? If Fiat were to become established in our market, they could actually benefit from Chrysler’s demise by taking over the factories and showrooms they use for pennies on the dollar. Selling Fiats and Alfas isn’t going to make Chrysler any better off. See ya Chrysler, it looks like you’re done.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Introducing the Chrysler Giulia, starting price $35K.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Or perhaps the Maserati TC by Chrysler?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Not to mention that the customers are just wearing out the carpets in Suzuki dealerships nationwide so they can get the Suzuki-made Fiat known as the SX4. Yup, it’s just like when AMC sold American-made Renaults. Boy, those went flying out the door. And that was when most Americans thought Japanese-made cars were both tiny and tinny.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Seriously folks, this is perhaps the biggest scam since the Hitler diaries… This is one spectacular mind fuck to make Chrysler appear a viable company and applicable for bailout bucks. Like “There IS a plan. Really!” Anyone who believes this shit should stay indoors at April first.

  • avatar
    akear

    Is America even capable of innovation anymore.
    If Chrysler cannot equal Fiat quality themselves they don’t deserve to be in business.

    Who in their right mind would even own a Chrysler dealership today. You have to eat.

  • avatar
    windswords

    AKM:

    What makes you think that a worker who was laid off and called back to work to assemble FIAT’s would be “disgruntled”?

    akear:

    “Is America even capable of innovation anymore.
    If Chrysler cannot equal Fiat quality themselves they don’t deserve to be in business.”

    According to JD Powers, Chrysler has not had trouble beating Mercedes quality. Is FIAT that good?

  • avatar
    windswords

    Ingvar:

    “Wishful thinking and pipedreams…

    So, Chryslers fortunes are gonna be put on shipping an Italian niche brand? And how much volume was that again?”

    You’re forgetting the deal. It has three parts. One is getting FIAT vehicles to the NA market (where FIAT has little or no presence). The other is getting Chrysler to the Euro/developing markets (where Chrysler has little or no presence). Third is the sharing of engines and technologies, purchasing, yada, yada, yada. If executed well it will bring benefits to both parties. But not at the “finger-snap” pace that many automotive arm-chair quarterbacks expect.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    The TC sunk itself because it looked way too much like a, wait for it, LeBaron convertible.

    An Alfa Romeo compact SUV? If it’s an SUV that handles like a car, sign me up. It does some very silly to sully a brand like that upon it’s re-entry to the US.

  • avatar
    WEGIV

    This isn’t the first time Chrysler has been rebadging cars from someone else…
    Anyone remember the Plymouth Colt aka Mitsu Mirage?
    I had one…

    Also, the lovely 3.0 V6 that was in many cars and the minivan during the 90s that had the nasty habit of burning oil on idle because the valve guide seals were failing? Mitsubishi.

    Then there was the reskinned Mitsubishi Eclipse that was being sold as a Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon for a while.

    At least this time they’re talking about reskinning cars that aren’t already available here from someone else, but I still have grave doubts that it’ll make a difference.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    This ‘plan’ is utterly ridiculous.

    Chrysler should be focusing on making these existing platforms the best they can be:

    Minivans
    Jeep Patriot, Wrangler, & Grand Cherokee
    LX cars

    Other than that they should be figuring out some type of cost-sharing scheme with Nissan to keep the Ram alive, going gangbusters on bringing back the Neon or equivalent, and bringing back the base Cherokee along with a Comanche light pickup on the same chassis.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “You’re forgetting the deal. It has three parts. One is getting FIAT vehicles to the NA market (where FIAT has little or no presence).”

    Fiat would be a niche player on the american market, and could be at best the next Mini with its Fiat 500. But novelty vehicles does not empires build.

    “The other is getting Chrysler to the Euro/developing markets (where Chrysler has little or no presence).”

    Like, exactly, what cars would they sell in Europe? The only Chrysler cars selling in any substantial numbers are the minivans, where Chrysler actually has a prescense in the european market. In Europe, american brands are niche players with margin sales, unless that niche fills a need that no one else can cater for. Chryslers abysmal line-up does not help.

    “Third is the sharing of engines and technologies, purchasing, yada, yada, yada.”

    Yeah, and yada yada yada… I say: Show me the MOOOONNNEEEEYYYYY !!!!

    “If executed well it will bring benefits to both parties. But not at the “finger-snap” pace that many automotive arm-chair quarterbacks expect.”

    The problem is, Chrysler will need sales and profit on a finger snap pace today, or go direct to Chapter seven tomorrow. Fiat/Alfas eventual american prescence in five years has as little bearing to reality as Chryslers electric vechicle hail mary. It’s bogus, it’s a scam. It doesn’t exist. It’s a pipe-dream, food for thought, or Nardellis wet dream of endless handouts. This has nothing whatsoever to do with reality, nothing whatsoever. This is an ex-parrot…

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    An Alfa would be a decent replacement for my Saab wagon. Sign me up for a Giulia, wagon, in 10 years.

  • avatar
    akear

    What is the point of Chrysler even having an engineering department. Saturn and Chrysler could end up being Walmart motors, where other companies product are sold under a brand name.

    Chrysler is now just one big joke. Is a joke worth saving after the laughs are gone.

    Time to die…………..

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Then why is Fiat bothering to inspect Chrysler’s factories in Canada the US and Mexico. For fun ?

    Why would Fiat waste the time and money to hire a Virginia based company evaluate their factories in three different countries and have Marchionne meet with US officials regarding the Chrysler/Fiat agreement?

    That there’s no “there” there borders on conspiracy theory I think.

    Take it all with a pound of salt but there is actual activity going on between Chrysler and Fiat.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Hey I think the Fiat/Chrysler marriage could really work. Look up the Fiat product line at Fiat UK. Now do the same with the Chrysler USA lineup. Their products compliment each other well. Both have quirky styling, both need the kind of products that the other sells.

    Do I really think it COULD work. No. I don’t think Americans are going to line up to buy quirky compacts from Italy. We are primarily a herd of sheeple and we typically lineup behind 4-5 brands and not even all of the products in those brands.

    Do I want it to work? Absolutely. I’d appreciate more variety on the American roads. More clever small cars showing that a 5,000 lb 4WD SUV is not always required. We too often choose the wrong “tool” for our commuter/grocery shopping duties.

    We just don’t embrace quirky very well here. We mostly embrace what our friends, neighbors and relatives embrace.

    Anything too different than a mighty truck or SUV (even for powerpuff duty) is a POS automatically.

    My concern about buying a Chrysler or Fiat would as usual be about how good the product was holding up at 150K miles, not duing initial quality surveys when the factory was still providing a warranty.

  • avatar

    Fiat is simply looking for an entrance back into the US market.

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