Chrysler shows concept 2012 Dodge Viper at dealer conference

September 16th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Earlier this week a Chrysler dealer conference went down over in the States where new or updated products from the American brand were unveiled. It was business as usual until Chrysler Group and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne had a concept of the 2012 Dodge Viper roll on to the stage.

While no photos or specs have been released, Chrysler has confirmed that the next-generation Viper is on its way in two years time, but showing a concept off this early is a clear indication that work is well underway.

There’s still much rumour and speculation over what powertrain will be fitted to the all-new Viper, but early reports indicate that the same 8.4-litre V10 may carry on, possibly with the inclusion of Fiat’s MultiAir technology to reduce emissions and boost output over 700 horses. An entry-level V8 option is also a possibility, and expect to see some input from Ferrari’s engineers on anything from handling to steering and stability control systems. Just one of the perks of partnership with the Fiat Group.

Chrysler unveils new 5-year plan

November 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Jeep Cherokee Wrangler fq

The New Zealand Chrysler team has been buoyed by the unveiling of a new 5-year plan to steer the company and its brands into the future.

A total of 21 new models are to be introduced by Chrysler before 2014, with the aim of doubling sales worldwide, returning the company to profitability and repaying the US Government loans.

Chrysler is partnering with its new 20% owner Fiat Auto to make use of the Italian company’s engine and product technology to achieve the ambitious turn-around and the plan has received the thumbs-up from the Chrysler distributor and dealer network in New Zealand.

“We were surprised and delighted by the scope of changes that are going to take place and there is a lot of confidence among our team about where Chrysler is going in the future,” says Todd Groves, Divisional Manager with Chrysler importer Sime Darby Automobiles Limited.

The Chrysler 5-year plan, which was revealed at a marathon 8-hour presentation to industry and media in Detroit, has been put together in just three months under Sergio Marchionne, who led Fiat through a similar restructuring three years ago.

The plan calls for almost $32billion to be invested in a complete renewal of every model in the Chrysler portfolio between now and the end of 2013. It will see Jeep emerge as the largest and most important brand in the Chrysler Group stable, the Dodge brand taking on a performance image and Chrysler paired with the upmarket Lancia brand in Europe.
Fiat will help Chrysler to fast-track development by providing vehicle platforms for a new range of medium and small size vehicles that will be launched with Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge nameplates. Among them are a new small Jeep under the Patriot size and new small cars for both Chrysler and Dodge.

Fiat will also provide technology for a new range of high performance four cylinder engines that are expected to deliver greater fuel economy and reduced emissions. Among the technology that will be utilised is the Multiair system that transforms the performance of a small capacity engine to rival much larger engines, thus saving weight and fuel. Advanced transmissions will also be part of the new development package.

Chrysler is also working on improving the current stable of models that will see the company through the immediate years. These include the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Patriot, both of which have just arrived in New Zealand with completely revised passenger cabins, featuring higher quality materials and detailed finishing.

Two totally new large Jeep and Chrysler models are expected to be introduced next year, but it will be 2012 before the all-new small and medium sized models arrive.

Chrysler says that the changes unveiled in the 5-year plan will see the company increase its sales from 1.3 million worldwide in 2009 to 2.8 million by the end of 2013. Jeep will almost double in sales to more than 800,000 per year, with Chrysler and Dodge each contributing 600,000 in sales. The Ram truck is being spun off into a brand on its own and will have a number of other models included, such as small and large vans.

Financially Chrysler is expected to break even in 2010 and progress to an operating profit of US$5 billion by 2014

Mr Groves says the New Zealand market may be small but it will be making an important contribution to the growing health of Chrysler in the future and plans are already being made to increase sales in this market in 2010 and beyond.

Chrysler, Fiat joint-developing electric car

October 15th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Dodge Circuit EV fq

In a few weeks time, Chrysler big boss Sergio Marchionne will reveal his 5-year plan for the automaker. According to information leaked out early, at least one electric car will be part of the plan. Apparently the once presumed-dead electric car program is back in progress and being worked on by Chrysler and Fiat together.

Chrysler, through its ENVI in-house electric propulsion division, currently has four electric vehicles: the Dodge Circuit EV (pictured), Jeep Patriot EV, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EV, and Chrysler Town & Country EV. The ENVI website claims that you’ll be able to own at least one electric model by 2010, and there will be “at least three more models available by 2013.”

Those claims may be outdated, but come November 4 Marchionne will reveal all.