Marchionne: Fiat-Based Chryslers On Sale Before 2012, IPO Possible

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While it’s looking more and more likely that the first Alfa Romeos won’t go on sale in the U.S. until 2012, a new range of Chrysler models based on Fiat platforms could be on sale before then. Chrysler is planning to use Fiat’s compact car expertise to develop a range of new fuel efficient models, and according to Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne the first cars could be on sale by the fourth quarter of 2011.

“We've run extensive clinics on the first vehicles. We're 98 percent there on styling,” Marchionne told reporters from Automotive News. “My expectation today is we'll be able to get this car into the market Q4 2011. We continue to work pretty aggressively on timing.”

The first model is expected to be a compact sedan, something Chrysler has lacked in its lineup ever since the demise of the Dodge Neon back in 2006. There could also be a new hatchback model, which Chrysler previewed with its rebadged Lancia Delta that was on show back at January’s Detroit Auto Show.

According Marchionne, Chrysler’s board is also considering an initial public offering (IPO) of stock after reporting an operating profit of $143 million for the first quarter of the year.

“This is an issue the board will look at very closely for the remainder of 2010,” he explained. “The fact we've gotten this far would suggest there's a strengthening base for looking at an IPO in a much shorter time frame than most people would expect.”

[Automotive News, sub req’d]

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