By on January 25, 2012

A USA Today interview with Sergio Marchionne revealed some interesting details about Chrysler’s future product plans – among them, a wider adoption of the Dodge Dart/Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform, a possible small hatch dubbed the “Chrysler 100” and Alfa Romeos built on American soil.

The upcoming replacements for the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 will ride on a version of the Dodge Dart platform, though nothing was said about earlier reports of the Avenger being axed. The Jeep Compass and Patriot will also use these underpinnings, with Marchionne stating “It’s gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car.”

A compact hatchback, dubbed the Chrysler 100 is being considered, and if approved, the car would be badged as a Lancia in Europe. Alfa Romeo’s on-and-off plans to come to America are still in motion with a planned 2013 debut, with American built Alfas being exported to Europe eventually. Marchionne also talked of new, lightweight vehicles and a 1.8L 4-cylinder motor with a turbocharger than can produce as much as 300 horsepower.

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26 Comments on “Dodge Dart Platform Will Underpin Chrysler 200, Jeep Compass Replacement...”

  • avatar

    I think I’m starting to like this guy Sergio. If we continue to watch the small cars, I think a rising tide will lift all boats.

  • avatar

    I’ve still been seeing a number of the Dart/stretched Alfa Romeo Giulietta mules running around with hatchbacks; any word on whether the hatch will be coming over as a Dart too?

  • avatar

    300 HP on a 1.8L engine? 167 HP/L!! That’s darn impressive even with a turbo. Its amazing how far 4Cyl’s have come and the compact segment is def. where the best choices are. For the first time, the most stylish, technologically advanced and fuel efficient compacts in the market are from Detroit. The Dart with a 9 Speed will have the same number of gears as the Civic and Corolla combined. Though if that adds any efficiency is debatable.

    Anything over 6 gears is too much and 5 is too little. I can get on 5th on my 5spd focus at 35-40 MPH. Anything over 60, it is revving too hard and can def. use a 6th gear.

    The Prius C (top of my shopping list) just might ruin the party for Detroit in the compact segment. @ $19K, Hybrid + more advanced, and 53 MPG, it will be impossible to beat in value/FE.

  • avatar

    ”It’s gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car.”

    I’m not a member of the Sergio-haters club, but that sentence just doesn’t make sense to a car guy. Yes, Porsche did campaign 4WD 911s in those African rallies, but in general “sports car architecture” and “trail rated” are mutually exclusive. Jeep still builds vehicles with solid front axles and plenty of off-roaders prefer a CJ’s solid axles to a Range Rover’s independent suspension.

    Hopefully Marchionne won’t repeat Trevor Creed’s mistake in approving both the Patriot and the Compass. The Caliber platform wasn’t great, but imagine how much better the Patriot could have been if the development team was also working with the Compass’ budget.

    • 0 avatar

      “Sharing architecture” doesn’t have to mean a shared suspension, it can just mean “shares critical measurements and just enough common parts that they can be built on the same assembly line.”

      • 0 avatar

        Good point. Sergio is banking on the flexible platform that can adjust width, length and wheelbase for multiple models, all potentially built on the same assembly line. The Dart has a longer wheelbase and is a couple inches wider than the Alfa it’s based on. VW calls their system modular, but it’s basically the same idea. I just hope all the iterations don’t have the same overall look, like VWs are beginning to have.

  • avatar

    First there were going to be these small cars, then there weren’t, now there will be, probably, maybe…

    Chrysler Group Five-Year Plan must be overlaid by a Pollack painting’s worth of red Sharpie revisions.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    Wait.. They’re nixing the current Chrysler 200 already? Hmm. Either way, every time I see the Dodge Dart on this site, I like it more and more.

    • 0 avatar

      Right from the beginning the 200 was built just to address the major shortcomings of the Sebring, and be completely replaced by something else later on. It was just stop-gap model.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, yes, 100% yes … can’t wait for Fiat-Chrysler to git rid of every POS small and mid-size car that Dumbler had their hands on.
      It’s too bad that won’t happen until 2013 but at least Fiat made it a halfway decent car out of the 200 and Avenger.

  • avatar

    I would have thought this would be the Chrysler 100…the Lancia-based Chrysler Ypsilon, sold in the UK:

  • avatar

    Is it really considered a different platform than Fiat Compact now? It’s just slightly longer and wider …

  • avatar

    Very confusing. A Chrysler 100 compact hatch? Might be exported and badged as a Lancia? Lancia has the B and C markets covered already with the Ypsilon and Delta. What is a Chrysler anyway? Or a Dodge for that matter?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not confusing if you let your conspiracy gene express itself. Sergio sees Fiat manufacturing dying in Europe, Italy especially, and took the North American division as his own, settling into Lee Iacocca’s chair in Auburn Hills, because he sees the company’s future transforming from Fiat-Chrysler into Chrysler-Fiat. The stock holders just don’t know it yet.

  • avatar

    It seems he’s always yakking about what is 2 or 3 years out. What about today’s product? The 500 is so far under his blowhard projections it isn’t funny.

    Jeep and Ram may be jewels, but the Dodge and Chrysler auto lineups are beyond lame. And I’m having a hard time believing Alfa-derived platform derivatives will do much to alter that… the competition is already ahead and they’re not exactly standing still.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, Fiat’s been building small cars successfully for a long time, so I’m optimistic that the Chrysler/Dodge lineup will begin to reflect that.

      For example, the Dart will offer a turbo-4 and a configurable dashboard, something most others don’t (except the Sonic’s turbo-4).

      As for the 500, I don’t think it will ever gain traction in the US, even with the Abarth edition. It’s just too small, and in normal configuration, too slow.

    • 0 avatar

      “Jeep and Ram may be jewels, but the Dodge and Chrysler auto lineups are beyond lame.”

      Not sure I agree with this statement – it may have been true a couple of years ago, but not now.

      Large LX cars: Never lame, even better now with the recent interior improvements and the Pentstar. Now that the Panther is dead they have the big RWD American car niche all to themselves.

      Mid sized cars: Sebring and old Avenger were beyond lame – the worst rental cars I’ve had in recent memory were Sebrings – but the new improved versions are apparently much improved. Probably just lame, rather than beyond lame.

      Small cars: Caliber was beyond lame, but the Dart looks good on paper so far.

      Minivans: Never beyond lame, but the sketchy quality and dated powertrains probably were enough to count these as lame, even though the basic layout was good. With the recent powertrain, suspension, interior and quality improvements these are now at least class competitive, if not the class benchmarks.

      The only product that still looks lame is the mid sized cars, and Chrysler is planning to replace it in the near future…

      • 0 avatar

        I was speaking more from a perspective of their success in the marketplace than their actual product quality. I am not in the industry, but those brands have their biggest challenge just getting buyers back into the showroom to see what they have.

        Note the only real quality kudo you cited was the LX, referred to as a niche. Everything else was either demonstrably second-rate (or worse) or unproven.

        Even if one stipulates they’re building quality cars (a stretch in my view), that is just one of many enablers to selling cars. They have a very long row to hoe against the most competitive landscape the industry has ever seen. I am betting they will not make it another 5 years… laggard Chrysler could bring all of Fiat down with it.

      • 0 avatar

        @hriehl1 –

        According to TTAC, “Chrysler is up 37 percent in December and 26 percent for the year”*, so I would say they are having no problem getting customers into the showroom. Here in Canada, Chrysler was neck in neck with GM for second place in sales (Ford was number one) last year. It also seems that perceptions about their brands and products are changing – witness the interest in the upcoming Dart, and the fact that the majority of comments on it have been positive so far.

        The trick will be keeping these new customers happy enough to come back again. Note that in order to do this they do not need to have industry topping quality, the product just has to be class competitive. The dealer experience has a lot to do this this to, the other day we heard Sergio is addressing this problem as well:’s-knuckles/

        One thing that really impresses me about Sergio is he seems to openly acknowledge his companies weaknesses and then take action to address them, rather than denying problems in an attempt to save face. So far it seems to be working, I am both surprised and impressed by their turnaround to date.

        It’s hard to say whether Chrysler (or any company) will be around in five years, but I wouldn’t write them off just yet. It wasn’t that long ago that Apple had been written off, and was headed for bankruptcy – but they seem to be doing just fine now…

  • avatar

    Could Chrysler make a snazzy version called an Arrow?

    • 0 avatar

      That would HAVE to be a hatchback version….AND have a hot-rod version called the Fire Arrow…oh, and have a houndstooth interior option! Then I’d be interested (having owned two Arrows back in the day)…:)

      • 0 avatar

        Houndstooth, huh? Well, forget it. All interiors are your choice of black, gray, black/gray and cream. No exceptions. Sigh. I remember when you could get plaid…

  • avatar

    ”It’s gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car.”


    “Trail-rated” has become more or less of a euphemism, the same way an Evoque is an off road Land Rover in comparison to the foreign market Defender.

    I lament the bizarre transformations and sex changes Jeep has undergone since it was sold by AMC to Chrysler and so forth. I shudder to think what the man from La Mancha will do to the Rubicon (the only remaining off road Jeep).

    • 0 avatar

      You may be describing the future, but not the present. Trail-rated (R in a circle) is a Jeep creation, but it still has standards. The only thing Chrysler did wrong was drop the Wagoneer name. It was AMC that dropped the body on frame for unibody, and it was an improvement. Jeep fans may wish they had the torque of the old 232 and 258 I-6s compared to the I-4s but the original Jeep was a much weaker I-4. Unibodies today have all the stiffness they need for off-road service, and they’re more crashworthy on roads than ever before. Sergio might just be smart enough to avoid killing a cash cow he’s depending on for global sales.

  • avatar

    The domestic market is only so big. Growing markets, like China, are largely closed.

    So with some firms on-the-rise (Ford, GM, Hyundai, Kia, Audi, VW) in our market, much of that is coming out of others’ hides. Chrysler is demonstrably the weakest player with any serious volume… they’re behind in product, dealer-quality, and somewhat shakey financially. It will be their hide.

    To me they look a lot like American Motors looked in 1975… not so much a question of if, but when.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Build the 200 and the Compass out of a small car platform, same as the Caliber, except they went one step further and the Journey was born, so this is the NEW Chrysler?

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