"I will not say we won't be making it," Marchionne replied to us with a grin, when we asked whether the Chrysler hatchback was indeed part of the business plan. "That's a good question...let us get out with the car [pointing to Dart] and we'll see."
Marchionne has good reason to be happy about how things are going at Chrysler. The U.S. automaker bolstered Fiat's financial performance this past year, thanks to significant gains in market share. And with the Dart hitting dealerships mid-year, it will likely make significant gains in market share and profitability for the company again in 2012.
The company also revealed recently that Fiat will sell (and assemble) a version of the Dodge Dart in China.
The 2013 Dart is already built on the architecture of the European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatchback—stretched about a foot, and slightly wider, which puts the Dart in a market position between compact and mid-size in the U.S. market. And that's part of the company's strategic plan to fully merge the operations of both automakers by 2014.
Fiat and Chrysler plan to introduce eight new models based on compact architecture in 2013 and 2014.
Now that the Dart is out, let the speculation begin. Do you think a compact Chrysler hatchback makes sense?