Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chrysler + Fiat = New small cars

Fiat 500
By now, you're probably all aware of the Chrysler/Fiat dealings going on. The quick and dirty is that Fiat will probably buy/merge with Chrysler and keep things going. Assuming this all happens as planned, apparently the U.S. will see some new European-based small cars, thanks to the Italian automaker.

Of course, one of the most exciting products for fans of small cars is Fiat's 500, shown above, which would be the first real competition against MINI's Cooper. It's more of an upper-level, or premium subcompact, much like the MINI. I think it looks great, too.

Fiat Panda 4x4Other small vehicles would include the Panda, which is either a front-wheel drive, or 4x4 mini crossover that might end up in the Jeep lineup. I happen to think the Panda is a cool little vehicle, and since the only other subcompact AWD or 4WD vehicle on the U.S. market is the Suzuki SX4, it might prove to be a nice alternative. Oddly enough, the SX4 is sold as the Fiat Sedici in other markets. Hmmm ...

Another subcompact would be the Grande Punto (shown in Abarth trim at left), which is available in either three- or five-door hatchback versions. With a 98.8" wheelbase, it falls square into B-segment, or subcompact territory. It'd compete against a wide range of subcompacts already in the U.S. However, I can't help but think the new Ford Fiesta would be a primary "rival" on the scene.

Additionally, the C-segment, or compact, Alfa Romeo Milano would also come over.

More information at Edmunds.com.

LINKS
Which Fiat Products Are Bound for U.S.? Details Emerge (Edmunds.com)
Fiat.com

5 comments:

Chris said...

I just hope these cars are sold as Fiats, I wouldn't want to see the 500 a Chrysler and the Panda as a Jeep. Chrysler should just use the platforms for their own cars. Although these are still better than their current offerings, Dodge Caliber anyone?

Thirty-Nine said...

Is Fiat as a brand-name going to appear in the U.S. or is just rebadged Fiats sold as Chrysler products?

I could see the Panda as a Jeep; the 500 as a Chrysler, and the Grande Punto as a Dodge if they were, in fact, going to be sold as Chrysler products.

nlpnt said...

The Edmunds article even referred to it as a "Jeep Panda"; I can't see any ChryCo branding on the 500, sorry. "Fiat 500-At Your Chrysler Dealer" is as close as they should come.

In the compact class, there's also the Bravo;
http://www.fiat.co.uk/Showroom/#showroom/bravo

..and its' sedan derivative the Linea;
http://www.fiat.com.br/monte-seu-carro/conheca.do?idModelo=110

I can see the former as a direct replacement for the Caliber and the latter as a new compact Chrysler, especially if they succeed in combining dealerships.

Combine all that with the RWD Chrysler 200 and the already-strong big car lineup and you have a Chrysler line as solid as any since the K-cars.

Jake said...

I'm loving that Panda. I could see it as a Jeep, the name "Jeep Panda" has a good ring to it. If they offered it with a little diesel they would have a very unique product offering. Even with a regular gas engine, if they could wring some decent MPG out of the little 4x4 it would certainly make my shortlist.

Thirty-Nine said...

A Jeep Panda diesel would create a a cult following for sure. However, I doubt they'll offer it in a diesel. The EPA has pretty strict diesel regulations in the U.S. and thus far, only VW and Mercedes are willing to play the game when it comes to passenger cars. I'd love a diesel vehicle, though.