Report: 7-seater Jeep Grand Wagoneer coming next year, subcompact Jeep in the works
Chrysler Group LLC’s Jeep brand is looking to add smaller and larger vehicles to its lineup within the next three years and is also looking to start using Fiat platforms.
While the brand will retain its off-road roots, Jeep will start using new powertrains to improve fuel-economy.
As we’ve heard before, Jeep is planning a seven-seat Grand Wagoneer that will hit markets next year as a 2014 model year vehicle. The model will be built at the same plant as the Grand Cherokee and will compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon.
Another vehicle in the works is a subcompact entry-level Jeep that will be sold on global level. The smallest Jeep will be built in Italy alongside the new Fiat 500X crossover. Expected debut time is reported to be in the second quarter of 2014.
Chrysler recently held its annual dealer preview in Las Vegas, Nevada, and almost immediately after, details about the Pentastar’s upcoming models began leaking out. Most notably, we now know more about the next-generation Chrysler 200, due in 2014.
We already knew that the 2014 Chrysler 200 would utilize an all-new nine-speed automatic that’s currently being developed by transmission-maker ZF, as did we know that the next 200 would offer both I-4 and V-6 powerplants. However, The Wall Street Journal has been able to help expand upon that further – that four-banger will displace 2.4 liters and the six-cylinder will be even larger. Our guess? The 2.4-liter is going to be the same Tigershark engine found in the 2013 Dodge Dart that uitilizes Fiat’s MultiAir technology; in the Dart, the 2.4-liter Tigershark is rated at 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. The next 200 is slated to share the same CUSW platform that underpins the Dodge, too. There is little doubt that the aforementioned V-6 will be Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which makes 283 hp and 260 lb-ft in the current 200 (pictured here). The WSJ is also reporting that the 2014 200′s I-4 paired to the nine-speed will be able to achieve 38 mpg on the highway. The Dart scores 36 mpg highway with a 2.0-liter I-4 and six-speed manual.
What the WSJ did not elaborate on is what bodystyles will be offered. However, we already know that when the next 200 goes on sale in the beginning of 2014, it will continue selling the familiar sedan and convertible styles, and will also add a new two-door coupe variant to do battle with the Honda Accord coupe. The next-generation Chrysler 200 will be the Pentastar’s only midsize sedan offering – the Dodge Avenger is being killed off after the current generation.
Chrysler is hoping that amenities such as premium ambient lighting and quilted leather will woo buyers away from midsize heavyweights like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Ford Fusion. According to the WSJ, Chrysler is hoping to double sales of the 200 with the new model; the 200 sold just 87,033 copies last year.
The WSJ also had a little more intel on the upcoming Chrysler 100. The small hatchback will share much of its mechanicals with the Dodge Dart, offering I-4 engines and front-wheel drive only. We’ve spotted the 100 out testing, and previously reported that it’s expected to go on sale in the 2016 calendar year.
Chrysler Models for Next 2 Years Boost Dealers’ Faith
Chrysler Models for Next 2 Years Boost Dealers’ Faith Sep 11, 2012
Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker controlled by Fiat SpA (F), provided dealers a preview of its model lineup for the next two years, increasing confidence that the automaker can continue market-share gains, dealers said.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne and Chrysler’s seven brand chiefs presented models on Sept. 10 in Las Vegas intended to carry the automaker through 2014, including the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, plus Alfa Romeo’s 4C sports car and Giulia sedan, said the dealers, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.
Vehicles with better fuel economy will strengthen Chrysler and close out the five-year plan Marchionne laid out in 2009, when the company had less than 9 percent of the U.S. auto market. Chrysler has boosted its share to 11.4 percent this year through August after introducing 16 new or refreshed models in the 19 months after it emerged from a U.S.-backed bankruptcy.
“There’s going to be more faith in whatever plan is put in front of them” compared with when Chrysler revealed its five- year plan, said Dave Sullivan, a product analyst at AutoPacific Inc. “You’re going to want to own a Chrysler because it has the technology or the style or the fuel economy that you’re looking for, and not just the monthly payment.”
Other products planned within two years include a new Chrysler 100 small car, a redesigned 200 sedan, and two new small Jeep sport-utility vehicles, one of which is the replacement for the outgoing Liberty. While Chrysler has examined whether to keep two minivans or go with one, it showed two this week, the dealers said.
The dealers interviewed praised the presentation for the broad scope of changes to Chrysler’s lineup, which included updates to existing products, expansion of model lines and improvements to fuel economy. The redesigned 200 received a standing ovation by the crowd of 6,000 attendees, the dealers said.
Dealers who attended account for more than 90 percent of Chrysler’s sales in the U.S., the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company said Sept. 10 in a statement. The vehicles shown to dealers “represent our firepower for the years to come,” Marchionne said in the statement.
Rick Deneau, a company spokesman, declined to comment about what models were shown to dealers.
Marchionne, who is also CEO of Turin, Italy-based Fiat, has said Chrysler is deciding whether it still needs two entries for the U.S. minivan market, which the company has led for almost three decades. Then-CEO Lee Iacocca introduced the Dodge Caravan four years after Chrysler’s 1979 government bailout.
Minivans are mounting a comeback this year after shrinking to 472,398 U.S. sales last year from 1.37 million in 2000, the segment’s peak year. Minivan deliveries, dominated by Chrysler, Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co., climbed 19 percent this year through August to 370,647, according to researcher Autodata Corp.
Dealers said it wasn’t made clear at the presentation whether the company will still have two minivan models in 2014.
Alfa Romeo’s Giulia sedan will be based on the same platform as the Dodge Dart compact car that began selling in the U.S. this year. Fiat was issued a trademark for the 4C name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in April, according to a release posted on the U.S. Federal News Service.
The timing for Alfa Romeo’s return is in part dependent on Chrysler and its dealers completing the process of filing letters of intent to become sellers of the brand, and may be completed by early 2014, according to one of the dealers.
“They’re going to have to rebuild the Alfa brand here and essentially start from scratch again,” Sullivan, the analyst for Tustin, California-based AutoPacific, said in a telephone interview. “Even if they were to have cars tomorrow, it doesn’t mean the brand is going to be successful in days, or a month, or in six months. There are a lot of other things that have to happen in order to make the brand successful.”
The redesigned 200 will be offered with a nine-speed transmission, the dealers said. The transmissions are scheduled to begin production by the first half of 2013, Mircea Gradu, vice president of transmission powertrain and driveline engineering, said in July. They are usable in “essentially any” front-wheel drive platform in Chrysler’s lineup, including the minivans, he said.
Minivans represent a significant portion of Chrysler’s sales. The Town & Country and Grand Caravan accounted for 15 percent of the automaker’s 1.37 million deliveries in the U.S. last year, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata.
Chrysler sold a combined 172,001 Town & Country and Grand Caravan minivans this year through August, a 25 percent increase from a year earlier, according to Autodata. The gain trails the 29 percent sales rise by Honda’s Odyssey while topping the 5.5 percent increase by Toyota’s Sienna.
“We are less than two years away from having an almost completely rejuvenated product lineup compared to what we could offer customers when we began this journey in June 2009,” Marchionne said in video highlights of his speech to dealers.
Information surfaced earlier this year that there would likely be a model based on the 2013 Dodge Dart coming to the Chrysler brand, presumably called the Chrysler 100. These talks raise alarms with some critics of the American automakers after “rebadging” has led to the demise of a variety of brands including Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury and Plymouth. However, based on the inside information pertaining to the new Chrysler 100 on display at this week’s dealership convention in Las Vegas, the 100 will sport a 5-door hatchback design along with exterior and interior changes to allow the Chrysler model to be far more than a rebadged Dart.
The 2013 Dodge Dart is a compact sedan with an aggressive exterior design and a refined – yet sporty – interior layout packed with high tech gadgets. The Chrysler 100 will differentiate itself from the Dart most noticeably with the 5th door added out back atop an elongated roofline but we can also expect that the 100 will have a front end design that is more luxury and less sport. Even though the 100 will ride on the same Compact US Wide chassis platform as the Dart, the hatchback design and a unique front end with vastly different headlights and grille design would make the two hard to connect for those who don’t know any better. We have seen the Chrysler Group’s ability to essentially disguise the similarities between two closely related vehicles with the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 so when the Chrysler 100 arrives – I would expect that it will look nothing like a “rebadged Dart”.
Chrysler Group LLC is withdrawing from service its test fleet of advanced plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) to conduct a battery-pack upgrade.
“This action is being taken to build upon the lessons from the initial deployment and to concentrate resources and technical development on a superior battery,” said Michael Duhaime, global director-electrified powertrain propulsion systems.
Three of the fleet’s 109 pickups equipped with plug-in hybrid powertrains sustained damage when their prototype 12.9-kWh lithium-ion propulsion batteries overheated.
There were no injuries and the incidents occurred when the vehicles were unoccupied.
No similar issues have occurred with 23 plug-in hybrid minivans deployed as part of a parallel project. However, they are also being withdrawn from service for a battery upgrade.
Both projects are jointly funded by Chrysler Group and the U.S. Department of Energy.
A different battery chemistry will be used in the projects' next phase, which will focus on grid interaction and improved safety. The complexity of the engineering solution will determine how many vehicles return to service.
The PHEVs were being evaluated for durability and other attributes by 16 partner organizations -- municipalities and utility companies across 20 states. The fleet accumulated more than 1.3 million miles of service in various conditions, from high-altitude Colorado to Arizona’s searing desert.
A primary goal of the final phase of the program is to determine how reverse power-flow might reduce the operating costs of commercial fleets.
Some of the fleet’s plug-in pickups are capable of transferring power from their batteries to the grid, which could generate revenue for fleet operators. The trucks also are able to link with each other to form independent mini-grids.
They are the first factory-built vehicles ever to feature this technology.
In addition, the pickups are the first factory-assembled Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicles (ATPZEVs) to pair PHEV technology with V-8 engines.
During testing, the pickups recorded peak average fuel-economy of 37.4 mpg, while the minivans delivered 55.0 mpg.
The batteries themselves are unique, marked by a high energy density that enabled weight- and size-reduction for convenient packaging.
The batteries also were produced without environmentally harmful NMP solvent used in most battery-manufacturing processes.
Chrysler Group is working with its partners to mitigate disruption of their operations.
Begun last year, the program is scheduled to end in 2014.
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Car and Driver says Chrysler is going to replace the Dodge Challenger with the 2015 SRT Barracuda. There have been rumors about this for months, but Car and Driver says Chrysler has finally figured out its plan. According to the magazine, Dodge would like to export the Challenger, but its size limits overseas sales potential. Since fuel economy is a top priority — especially since there are four-cylinder versions coming of both Mustang and Camaro — Chrysler needed to slim down Challenger. Meanwhile, Fiat has been looking for a rear-drive platform for use by Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and possibly Maserati. These factors motivated Chrysler to develop a new platform, and the Barracuda will be its first result, according to Car and Driver.
It says the 'Cuda will be about the same size as the current Mustang, with a wheelbase more than six inches shorter than the Challenger's. Its rear track and overall width are expected to shrink by a bit more than two inches, while weight will drop by between 250 and 300 pounds. The front suspension may move from control arms to a strutsetup; the rear suspension will remain multi-link, with new geometry.
Marchionne to update Fiat-Chrysler plan due to Europe woes
Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC, said that he will revise his business plan for both automakers to account for the deterioration of the European auto market since 2009.
Marchionne will update his plans for 2013 and 2014 on October 30, he told reporters Monday in Columbus, Ohio.
Italian automaker Fiat took a 20 percent stake and management control of Chrysler in mid-2009 when the U.S. automaker emerged from government-funded bankruptcy protection.
Later that year, Marchionne unveiled a five-year recovery plan that called for the eventual combining of Fiat and Chrysler.
Next Chrysler 200 To Become More Alfa Romeo Than Chrysler
January 18 2013
2013 Chrysler 200
Since its acquisition by Fiat in 2009, Chrysler has been hard at work pulling from its Italian parent’s toolbox to overhaul its lineup. Next up is the all-new Chrysler 200, which chief designer Ralph Gilles promises to be both “beautiful and relevant,” according to a new report.
Gilles promises WardsAuto that the next-generation 200 will “share no surface language with any Chrysler we’ve ever seen.” Various Chrysler executives have promised over and over that the next 200 will finally shed its Sebring past and become a true competitor in the midsize sedan class.
Based on Fiat-Chrysler’s previous product plans, we know that when the new Chrysler 200 appears next year, it will share the same CUSW underpinnings as the Dart. That platform is a widened and lengthened version of Alfa Romeo’s compact platform found under the Giulietta hatchback. Not much more is known about the new 200 – including whether or not it will remain a sedan, become a hatchback, or turn into a slinky four-door coupe – but expect it to use the same nine-speed automatic transmission that will debut in the 2014 Jeep Liberty later this year. That transmission is also slated for the Dart, so it makes sense that since it rides on the same platform as the Dodge and the Jeep, it would receive the transmission as well. According to Wards, the Dodge Avenger twin of the Chrysler 200 will be discontinued, but we’ve previously reported that Dodge will receive a midsize crossover in the Avenger’s place.
Chrysler’s compacts aren’t the only vehicles to be receiving Alfa Romeo DNA. It was reported this week that a follow-up to the Dodge Challenger is in the works. That car would share its rear-wheel drive platform with Alfa’s BMW 3 Series-fighter, meaning that the new car would be smaller than the current Challenger.
What isn’t known, however, is what badge that car might wear. We’ve heard some scuttlebutt that the car could move to the SRT brand, where it would be known as the Barracuda – a name Plymouth used on its Ford Mustang competitor from 1964-1969, and on its version of the Challenger from 1970-1974. However, there’s some talk the Challenger name may remain in place. “We’re reinvesting in the Challenger,” Wards quotes Gilles as saying. “A lot of people are saying ‘Oh, the Challenger is going to die and go away’ – no. We’re taking care of a brand that has served us very well.”
Sergio promises updated Chrysler product plan next week
January 24, 2013
DETROIT -- Sergio Marchionne said he will update the five-year product plan that the automaker laid out in November 2009 when Chrysler Group announces its earnings Wednesday.
Speaking to Automotive News last week during the Detroit auto show, the Chrysler-Fiat CEO said that enough changes have been made to the original product roadmap to warrant a redraft.
"We'll repitch it when we do the analysts call," Marchionne promised. "What has not changed is the financial objectives."
I can only hope that the "repitched" plan will be as detailed and nugget-filled as the original presentation, which laid out plans for potential future engine displacements, segment entries and platform sharing.
The 2009 presentation -- greeted with cynical skepticism and even derision from some quarters at the time -- has started as time has progressed to look as though it were penned by Michel de Nostradame. For example, Chrysler remarkably met or exceeded its aggressive global delivery targets in each of the plan's first three years.
But like the famous French quatrains, there are some product predictions remaining in the plan that have yet to materialize and others now being considered that didn't appear. For example:
Ram's "Lifestyle" truck. A natural successor to the now-departed Dodge Dakota, the mid-sized unibody pickup was supposed to show up in 2011. It never arrived, and the brand's leaders will say only that such a vehicle remains under study.
Jeep's Grand Wagoneer. An ultraluxury, super-big Jeep didn't make the initial product plan, but it has been openly discussed for several years to probe the upper limits of consumer demand for Chrysler's most valuable brand.
Subcompact Dodge and Chrysler cars. They were supposed to come from Fiat, but so far, they're no-shows. It could be that executives are understandably concerned that rebadged subcompact Fiats won't do anything for their respective brands. Or maybe it's the fact that Europe today is where the United States was in 2009.
Minivans or something similar. Chrysler's frequent and frequently changing pronouncements on the future of the segment it invented have turned into an Olympic dithering match. Maybe next week, we'll get a final answer, instead of just the latest answer.
'Cuda be a Challenger. The rumor mills have been working overtime -- thanks in part to design head Ralph Gilles' ever-flowing Twitter feed -- on a slimmed-down successor to the Dodge Challenger and the re-introduction of a smaller Barracuda. They say to look for a new supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, dubbed the Hellcat, to power at least one of the beasts.
All of this is just conjecture, of course. As longtime Chrysler watchers know, nothing's official until it's official. But with some luck, the guy on top who likes making the decisions may be ready to make such a declaration Wednesday morning.
Chrysler's Revised Product Plan Mixes Good News And Bad
Jan 30, 2013
If you were holding out hope for a new Mustang and Camaro-fighting SRT Barracuda to debut in the next few years, you may want to sit down. According to the latest product plans released by Chrysler this morning, the SRT brand won’t see a new model before the 2016 model year.
If that’s the bad news, here’s the good: the new Viper, released last year, is already scheduled for its first refresh in 2015, which speaks to SRT’s focus on its halo sports car. Three other vehicles (likely the Challenger, Charger and Chrysler 300) will get refreshed SRT versions in 2014.
Automotive News (subscription required) tells us that the Jeep brand won’t see the Fiat-built “baby Jeep” until 2014, which is a year later than previously projected. Look for two new Jeep-built models to debut in 2015, followed by refreshes of two existing products in 2016.
Chrysler will refresh a model for 2014, and word is that it will be the 200 sedan, long overdue for a new design direction and change in platform. Three new yet-to-be-named Chrysler models appear in 2015, including one moved forward from its previously scheduled 2014 introduction.
Alfa Romeo still has one model on the list for 2013 (likely the 4C), but nothing else in the pipeline until the scheduled introduction of four models in 2015 (probably including the new Mazda-built Alfa Romeo Spider). Call us crazy, but that hardly seems like an effective way to relaunch a brand in the United States.
As for Dodge, look for Chrysler’s mainstream brand to get three refreshed models in the next two years (one in 2013, two in 2014). There’s reportedly a platform change for an existing model in 2015, followed by the introduction of a new model in 2016.
What does it all mean? In the big picture, we suppose that Fiat is trying to reduce spending on new products as it shores up existing brands worldwide. That’s a sensible strategy, and it shows that Fiat and Chrysler are taking a cautious approach to new product introductions until the global economy improves.
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