2011 Chrysler Review – Sergio Marchionne saved Chrysler from certain postbankruptcy death last year. Outsiders have placed a lot of faith in Fiat’s superstar chief, although his five-year plan revealed last November raises the question of whether Chrysler will soon be selling much more than rebadged Fiats, Alfa Romeos, and Lancias.
While North American Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram dealers have been consolidating in order to reduce product overlap, three of those brands now will share small Fiat underpinnings across several model lines.
Brand president Olivier Francois says Chrysler will share exterior styling with Lancia, of which Francois also is president. Ralph Gilles, still in charge of Chrysler Group design, also leads Dodge Brand and plans to upgrade its image and interiors, with variations ranging from “sweet and simple” to “uptown luxury” and “ultimate performance” SRT. How will “uptown luxury” Dodge differ from Lancia-based Chrysler? Probably in marketing more than material difference.
Fiat will apply its Multiair technology to Chrysler’s new line of larger-than-2.0-liter fours and its new Pentastar V-6. And Chrysler will build Fiat’s Multiair 1.4-liter four in its Dundee, Michigan, engine plant, and share its larger fours and Pentastar V-6 with Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia. The Pentastar is “protected” for downsizing to smaller displacements, important for Europe. It features a cast-aluminum block and dual-continuously variable cam phasing.