2008 Fiat 500
The likes of the Dodge Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee will be getting a new subcompact companion on showrooms floors.
Fiat, the new guiding force at Chrysler, says it will start selling its 500 hatchback in Chrysler showrooms in about 18 months.
Automotive News reports that the 500 will be the sole model to arrive in the American car company's showrooms, wearing a Fiat badge. A future range of Chryslers and Dodges and Jeeps will share platforms with Fiats, but will carry their own sheetmetal and their own names.
Fiat's executives see the 500 as a boutique car that can do for Chrysler what MINI did for BMW, or Scion for Toyota. The halo product will be the first small car to arrive in America under the Fiat investment in Chrysler, which could see up to six European-developed vehicles coming to Chrysler showrooms in the next three years as Chrysler and Fiat join forces to engineer new products for the bankrupt American automaker.
Some powertrains for those vehicles will be shared with European Fiats, but Chrysler's own powertrain engineers will likely develop four- and six-cylinder engines for use in the new vehicles.
For more info on those future products, see our predictions for the 2012 Chrysler, 2012 Jeep and 2012 Dodge lineups.
[Automotive News, sub. req'd.]