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One of the first Fiat products to hit the U.S. is likely to be the 500 minicar, which is being considered for local productionEnlarge Photo
The Fiat 500, Grande Punto and Panda have all been confirmed in the documents, while Alfa Romeo's MiTo, Evo sedan and Milano are also part of the deal, reports Edmunds. The Panda could be sold as a Jeep, though the ultimate U.S. brands of the rest of the cars remain unknown at this point. Some of the biggest boons to Chrysler's lineup could be technological: the 1.4L turbo four-cylinder and 3.0L V6 engines and dual-clutch transmissions that are also part of the tie-up.
Bringing the struggling Detroit 3 carmaker back into the market as quickly as possible will be key to helping in its recovery, and according to outgoing co-president Tom LaSorda the range of new Chrysler vehicles based on Fiat models could be hitting the U.S. market in just 18 months.
While the timeline may seem a little optimistic, LaSorda explained that "18 months is practical" considering that a "lot of pre-work in terms of homologations and emissions" had already been undertaken. Despite this, many analysts are predicting a three-year timetable for a Chrysler-Fiat product to hit the U.S. market - a timetable that LaSorda has acknowledged but still dismissed as being too slow considering the company’s current position.
Chrysler's new brand portfolio, which will be largely based on Fiat products, means that the company will be eliminating certain unprofitable models, as well as models that overlap into other segments and cause internal brand cannibalization. Additionally, Chrysler will sell all of its brands, which now consist of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, "under one dealership umbrella".
LaSorda has previously said that the highly acclaimed Fiat 500 was being considered for local production. Even Chrysler's head designer Ralph Gilles has been keen to bring the Fiat 500 to the U.S. since the beginning of this year. "It is such a fun package. I think Americans, given the chance, will fall in love with this thing," he said.
At the moment, Fiat is considering three different Chrysler plants that could be retooled for production of Fiat vehicles - for a full rundown of the plants and the future vehicles that may come out of them see our previous story by clicking here.