Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to overhaul his company’s lineup over the coming years, with dramatic moves including killing the Jeep Compass and Patriot compact crossovers, and replacing the Chrysler Town & Country minivan with a crossover. Marchionne revealed many of the product plans at a media briefing at the company’s factory in Belvidere, Illinois.
Marchionne told Automotive News that the Jeep Compass and Patriot (pictured) would continue to be built in Belvidere (alongside the 2013 Dodge Dart) until August 2014. He said that there are “a number of candidates” to replace the Jeep twins, but didn’t elaborate further. We have previously heard that the Patriot and Compass will eventually be reincarnated on the CUSW (Compact U.S. Wide) platform that underpins the 2013 Dodge Dart.
The Jeep Liberty also will probably be redesigned for 2014. Based on our spy photos and earlier reports, we can expect the 2014 Liberty to be based on the CUSW platform, which in turned was cribbed from Europe’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
As has long been rumored, Marchionne confirmed that the Chrysler Town & Country minivan will be reinvented as a crossover. The Dodge Grand Caravan will be the company’s only minivan offering going forward; the brand invented the minivan segment in the 1980s, and it made little sense for Chrysler and Dodge to offer two essentially identical vans. As we reported in our July 2012 issue, Chrysler’s T&C replacement will be an upscale crossover that might resemble the Mercedes-Benz R-Class.
Unsurprisingly, Marchionne admitted that the SRT performance brand is working on developing a Dodge Dart SRT4. It will take the place of the Dodge Caliber SRT4, which was dropped in 2009. The only remaining debate is “how big an engine we stick in it,” Marchionne told AN. SRT president and CEO Ralph Gilles told us in January that his brand would consider developing a high-performance version of every Chrysler product except for minivans.
Finally, Marchionne offered a candid take on the electric version of the Fiat 500, which will launch this fall. He said that the zero-emissions subcompact was being designed only so the company could meet requirements in states like California by selling an electric car. Chrysler expects to lose at least $10,000 for each Fiat 500 EV it sells, after all.
Source: Automotive News