First Fiat-based Chrysler will be 500 city car in late 2010

On November 4, Chrysler announced that the first Fiat they plan to introduce to help save their company is the Fiat 500 minicar, arriving at the end of 2010.

Chrysler's new five-year plan is based on incorporating 13 Fiat-designed models by 2013, ending production of six to eight underperforming models and revamping all 12 models they intend to keep by 2012.

The new Fiat cars won't arrive in Chrysler's lineup until 2012 or 2013, except for the 500 city car. The minicar will probably get a bit longer for the US market for its US introduction in late 2010, followed by a convertible and a sport model, all in low volumes.

Chrysler, with a lineup full of SUVs, trucks and minivans, desperately needs the tiny, weaker but fuel-efficient 1.0- to 1.4-liter engines which have helped position Fiat among the best automakers of Europe. Fiat-based vans for the Ram truck line, smaller SUVs, full-size CUVs, compacts, family sedans: Fiat will be adding their designs to virtually every type of car Chrysler produces.

The Dodge Caliber diesel model sells well in Europe so it is surprising it is set to be cut. Their Jeep Commander is done for the US soon, but Chrysler is considering keeping production for export. Chrysler is also on the fence regarding the Dodge Viper sports car, a competitor for Corvette, which it may cut in mid-2011 but bring back in 2012.

So what does Chrysler do well? According to them, it's their fun Jeeps, stalwart Ram trucks and family-friendly Chrysler minivans, for which they announced increased worldwide production plans.

But the main task Chrysler has at hand is to reverse their drastically slumping sales in the next two years. If not, the recently-bankrupt company may not even last long enough for Fiat to play the role of savior.

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