The Detroit 3 are hoping to change their reputation for chiefly supplying petrol-thirsty SUV's, with a view to getting small and mid-sized vehicles onto the market as soon as possible and one of the most active among the trio is Chrysler. The carmaker’s co-president and former CEO, Tom LaSorda, has echoed this view, stating that Chrysler is engaged in building a new global mid-sized vehicle under its Project-D program.

While Project D focuses on creating a new global mid-size car, Chrysler is also contracting Nissan to build a small car to be released in the 2010 model year in North America. Chrysler also has a deal with Chinese company Chery Automobile for the development of a small car, presumably for regions other than North America and Europe. Previous reports suggested that the car will be based on the Dodge Hornet concept car (pictured), which featured a supercharged 1.6L four-cylinder.

Chrysler is not discussing a mid-sized car with Nissan because it regards the mid-sized program as the core of its future product portfolio, LaSorda told Automotive News. The new platform, however, will be flexible enough to spawn both large and small cars as well.

The shift towards small and mid-size cars comes in the wake of Barack Obama's attack of the Detroit 3, in which he allocated them at least part of the blame for America's current fuel crisis due to their lack of development of alternative energy and focus on trucks - in fact, over 65% of Chrysler's sales for 2008 have been light trucks and a shift towards a smaller sized car can't come soon enough for the ailing company.