Chrysler Will Refresh Five Models by 2011
Huge hurry-up drill probably in Chrysler’s future, says Fiat CEO Marchionne
By Brendan Moore
The future is looming larger at Chrysler, and it’s not looking so rosy in the near-term as the company is very short on new product. Since the lead times on new product are long concerning new vehicles, redesigns of current vehicles are the order of the day.
But even a redesign takes some time. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne wants some different-looking product by 2011, which will require tremendous focus and quite a few late nights between now and then. Considering we’re effectively at the end of 2009 now, that is a considerably accelerated timeline compared to the usual time allocated for a redesign.
Marchionne wants new sheet metal on the following models by 2011:
Chrysler Town & Country
He also wants a redesign to be in progress on the PT Cruiser simultaneously, but will settle for a later launch date for the redesign on that vehicle.
If the plan is to be successful, Chrysler will have to rehire workers and schedule overtime, both of which will require approval from the board during Chrysler’s current financial crisis. Marchionne is expected to get that approval fairly easily.
A tougher task looms for Marchionne concerning the five-year plan he will submit to the presidential auto task force, which will encompass the redesigns and the new (Fiat) platforms for new vehicles Chrysler plans to introduce after 2011. The U.S. government, through it’s ownership stake in Chrysler, now gets a vote on whatever Chrysler does.
The new cars will almost certainly be based on the C-EVO platform Fiat has developed in-house. The platform should yield both a compact, and, a midsize sedan that will be a bit smaller than the Japanese big guns in the segment, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
Additionally, there are some other issues dogging Chrysler’s hurry-up drill for redesigned and new product. A Wall Street Journal article published yesterday stated that some of Chrysler’s suppliers are wary of doing business with the new Chrysler, since Chrysler will not commit to minimum volumes for the components it wishes to order. Without those commitments, the suppliers are concerned about making money on Chrysler’s business.
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