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Chrysler's Italian Affair, Round 2


Chrysler TC by Maserati

Chrysler TC by Maserati

The last union of Chrysler and an Italian marque, back in the go-go 80s, produced nothing less than...the Chrysler TC by Maserati. For those too young too remember, the TC looked like a barely restyled Chrysler LeBaron convertible with leather seats so overstuffed that Top Gear screenwriter Richard Porter was inspired to ask: "ever wonder what it'd be like to see your grandparents naked?" Even a removable hardtop (with opera windows) and a Cosworth-developed DOHC cylinder head couldn't hide this $33,000 ride's Dodge Daytona K-Car roots. Only 7,300 units were sold during the TC's three-year production run.

In an ironic twist, the newest Chrysler union results in an association once again between Maserati and Chrysler, though in a more distant way; Ferrari and Maserati are run largely as separate entities from the Fiat Group.

Chrysler TC by Maserati

Chrysler TC by Maserati

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Not that Chrysler was the only offender in the land of Italian-branded badge-engineering (remember the Cadillac Allante?). But in the spirit of learning from the past, we're hoping that we see the best of Chrysler melded with the brightest of Fiat.

Chrysler TC by Maserati

Chrysler TC by Maserati

Enlarge Photo

Chrysler, please take this chance to separate the wheat from the chaff in your platforms. It would really be a shame if you lowered the caliber (ha) of your Fiat-sourced drivetrains by anchoring them beneath low-rent plastic interiors with harsh molding seams and Wal-mart grade upholstery. Forget the refrigerated six-pack gloveboxes and gimmicks; focus on textures, colors, and subtleties. GM (Chevy Malibu, Cadillac CTS) and Ford (Fusion, 2010 Mustang) have done it, and we know you can too.

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Comments (5)
  1. "Reece"

    That is the big question isn't it. It takes more than platform sharing to get this right. Depends on howmuch management change there is at Chrysler. If you have same fools making the same mistakes, then it doesn't matter what platforms you use. The main reason the Renault-Nissan allliance worked was the pashion of Goshn, without a simmilar leader will this work for Chrysler?
    I guess we won't know until it happens but it is the best, and seemining, only chance Chrysler has at the moment.
    Memo to Chrysler:
    Keep those who design your exteriors but sack
    1) those responsible for design of your interiors
    2) those who decided cheap plastic interiors are the way to go and cut cost elswhere on materials
    3) your management who are responsible for 1 and 2 above and much much else that is worng with you.
    If the Italians can finaly make interiors that stay together then Americans can!
     
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  2. "Wayne"

    I'm excited for Chrysler on this deal, but I can't help but thinking that somehow Fiat got the short end of the stick...yeah I know they got 35% of Chrysler for what sounds like an agreement to produce vehicles, whereas Chrysler didn't get any of Fiat.....hmmmm sounds like the GM/Fiat deal a few years ago, but this time Fiat is the GM and Chrysler is the Fiat....
    But let's get to the real issue, Chrysler does need to fire their entire interior design and purchasing teams. The outsides of MOST Chrysler cars are good, well except the Caliber and the Sebring, but those interiors turn people away in droves. I have a '99 Stratus, and I think that interior looks better than some of the new stuff Chrysler is doing, and it's 10 years old. So let's bring on the Fiat skills and the Fiat 500 Abrath and the Alfa MiTo..
     
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  3. "Allante ... whatever it was, it wasn't "badge engineering""

    The Allante was a unique vehicle, assembled in Italy with large dollops of US running gear. Unlike the TC, it wasn't based on a cutdown volume car. Just for the record ...
     
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  4. "Large Dollops of Running Gear"

    John V - fair, perhaps "badge engineering" is the wrong term in the case of the rather handsome Allante. But a $54,000 price in 1987 for an Eldo-based FWD platform with the sad-sack HT4100 V-8 from a Sedan DeVille made the Allante a sorry competitor for the likes of the RWD Mercedes SL. Even later versions with the stout Northstar retained ugly understeer and wrenched the wheel from a driver's hands with torque steer, unthinkable in its segment. The Allante was unique alright...in all the wrong ways.
     
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  5. "David S"

    This is huge. This could be great, but Chrysler still has to slim down its dealer base. But it is exciting that you could see Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Alfa dealers soon. But with the stunning Chrysler exterior designs and also the drop dead sexy designs from Alfa I hope there designs merge esp in the interior departmant. Man who ever would of thought that Chrysler of all companys would have corperate tie in's to Ferrari? There is still a long way to go for the pentastar but this is a good start.
     
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