Chrysler is set to bounce back from their near death experience last year, with a raft of new car launches and redesigned models over the next two years, under the control of Fiat boss, Sergio Marchionne.
During an unprecedented six-hour press conference and a closed dealer meeting, Marchionne revealed plans that he hopes will once again, bring profits back to all those in the Chrysler family.
Those plans include a revamp of the Chrysler Sebring, which is to be renamed the Chrysler 200 and said to have a improved handling, softer ride, reduced noise and an interior upgrade.
The substantial improvements should enable the car to successfully compete with the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, which have been the buyer’s choice for some time now, due to their superior quality proposition.
Apparently, Chrysler has admitted to unacceptable quality standards over the last few years and as a result, is overhauling its manufacturing systems.
Dodge has been given a new logo and will be billed as a youthful brand, as well as more refined with a substantial quality upgrade.
2010 will see plenty of changes to the Avenger and Journey, while a new Charger is on the way too.
There’s a new version of the popular Nitro planned for 2011 and in 2012, expect a Golf-size sedan based on a Fiat chassis.
For the hard-core enthusiasts, the news is equally exciting with a green light given for a new Viper based on Fiat technology, which could mean some Ferrari parts.
As far as Jeep is concerned, there are big changes afoot over there too with more focus on two-wheel-drive soft readers and the introduction of the “trail rated’ off road segment.
Hard Core trails will remain the sole demain of the no compromise Wrangler, which will also receive a fresh look.
The Chrysler brand will go back to the future, along with its sister brand from Italy, Lancia, which will both epitomise “timeless elegance” and “style and cachet”.
The new 330C and Voyager MPV will wear Lancer livery from 2011, when the Chrysler badge will effectively cease to exist in Europe.
When it comes to the Fiat brand itself, Chrysler needs to tread carefully given the unreliable memories of the marque before pulling out of the US in 1983, despite cars such as the Fiat 124 Sport and Spider being popular in states like California.
For now at least, Fiat plans to introduce various 500 variants of the next two years, rounding off with the Abarth 500 in 2012.
Oddly though, there was no mention by either Fiat or Chrysler of Alfa Romeo, as there is no doubt that many folks in the US would like to see a return of the sports car marque.