Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Analyst Forecasts New Chrysler and Fiat Models Until 2012 Including Jeep based Alfa GTX SUV

Analyst Forecasts New Chrysler and Fiat Models Until 2012 Including Jeep based Alfa GTX SUV

Research firm IHS Global Insight (GI) has released a new analysis forecasting a variety of Chrysler and Fiat Group models to be built in North America between 2011 and 2012. Before we say anything else, we'd advise to pay attention to the words 'analysis' and 'forecast'. That said, don't take everything you read as a fact. The report begins with the Alfa Romeo 169, a BMW 5-Series rival that is said to be built at Chrysler's Ontario factory in Canada with the first models rolling off the assembly line as early as November 2011.

The analyst predicts that the 169 will be based on Chrysler's LX platform which underpins the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger models. While it makes sense for the Italians to use the LX platform, unless Fiat is planning to simply re-skin / re-mask the next-generation Chrysler 300 into an Alfa, in which case, we're talking about a mistake from Fiat's behalf, saying that that the Alfa Romeo 169 will be ready to enter production in about two years time, is quite optimistic. Plus, as you can see in one of Fiat's previous product plans, Alfa was supposedly scheduling to introduce a self-developed 169 in 2009 - what happened to that?

Talking about the LX platform, the forecaster said that due to the bankruptcy of Chrysler LLC and the plant closures, the start of production of the new 2011 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 have been delayed to November 2010 and January 2011 respectively.

Continuing with the North American-built Fiat models, Global Insight said that the highly successful in Europe, 500 mini, will be made in Toluca, Mexico with U.S. sales starting in July 2011.

The MINI-rivaling 500 will be the only Fiat-badged model to be sold in the States. Since the 500 is based on Fiat's 169 platform, the Toluca plant will also produce the Jeep Panda 4x4, again from July 2011. We're guessing that the Jeep variant will most likely be a remasked version of the European market Panda 4x4.

Next up we have an array of models based on the Fiat Group's C-EVO platform that underpins C-segment cars like the Lancia Delta and Fiat Bravo. The report says that the C-EVO will be used on the next-generation Dodge Journey crossover, Dodge Caliber crossover and Chrysler Sebring sedan. Production is slated to begin for the Journey and Caliber in July 2012 at the Belvidere Assembly Plant, and for the Sebring, in June 2011 at the Toluca assembly plant.

In addition to the above models, the C-EVO platform is also reported to form the base for an Alfa Romeo compact SUV (no date) and weirdly enough, for the successor of the Jeep Liberty (July 2012) with both SUVs said to be produced at the Toledo plant in Ohio.

But the report gets even better as it is predicted that Fiat will produce a larger Alfa Romeo SUV model called the GTX at Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly Plant beginning in July 2011. The GTX is said to be based on Jeep's WL platform that underpins the 2011 Grand Cherokee. However, bear in mind that the Grand Cherokee's WL platform is derived from Mercedes-Benz (it was developed during Daimler's reign over the company) so we're not entirely sure if Fiat has the rights to use the platform for one of its own models.

The paper ends with two subcompact hatches, the Dodge Hornet and Alfa Romeo MiTo that will share the same hardware- aka Fiat's 199 B-segment platform. Both cars are reported to be built for the American market at Chrysler's Belvidere assembly plant in Illinois with production slated to begin in March 2011 for the Hornet and July 2011 for the MiTo.

Call us skeptics, but if you want our opinion, we find the forecast extremely optimistic in the sense that Fiat will not only have to develop, design, engineer and test a whole bunch of new cars but also revamp Chrysler's North American factories to build the vehicles and all this in just two years from now.

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