Chrysler is currently on the lookout for a new site in North America to start building Fiat-based models, with the first cars tipped to be rolling off the factory floor as early as this year.
The information comes from Chrysler's senior vice president for manufacturing, Scott Garberding, who revealed that there a number of options on the table, including the construction of a brand new plant.
Three production plants thought to be in consideration include Chrysler's Canadian MPV plant in Windsor, Ontario, as well as a plant in the U.S. and Mexico. The Windsor plant in Canada currently builds the Chrysler Town & Country, as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan. If this plant is re-tooled for Fiat production, it could produce Alfa Romeo's MiTo small car as well as a possible Chrysler vehicle based on Fiat's C-Evo platform.
Other plants under consideration include Chrysler's Mexico plant that currently builds the Dodge Journey and the Chrysler PT Cruiser. With the PT Cruiser coming to the end of its life this summer, this could pave the way for the construction of cars derived from Fiat's A platform, such as the popular Fiat 500 minicar. There is also speculation that a new entry-level Jeep model could be developed from Fiat's Panda Cross 4x4 or possibly the flexible C-Evo platform.
Finally, Chrysler is also considering its assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois. This plant assembles the Dodge Caliber, as well as the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. With a Fiat-backed re-tooling, the plant could easily produce a number of Fiat models, such as the upcoming Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the 159-replacement.
[Automotive News, sub req'd]