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 |  May 07 2014, 7:32 PM

Fiat Crossing Over

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Some Chrysler dealers that decided to adopt a Fiat franchise are feeling cross. The brand’s North American revival took time to gain ground and is struggling on a thin product line. Currently, customers can pick between variants on the 500 sub-compact that include a retractable rag top version or the more engaging Abarth model. There’s also the larger 500L, but that’s really about it except for the 500e that Fiat would really rather not have to build in the first place. Bah, humbug.

Unlike some of FCA’s other brands, Fiat isn’t about to blow up with a massive model expansion. It will gain two more models: the 500X crossover and a yet-unnamed “specialty” car. The crossover will share its bones with Jeep’s new Renegade small SUV and is expected to debut later this year. What’s more interesting about Fiat’s announcement is the mystery model, of which little is currently known.

Mazda and Alfa Romeo are working together to build a car that, for the Japanese brand, will serve as a replacement to the NC-generation MX-5 sports car. Previously, it was thought that Alfa Romeo would badge and sell the fruit of that labor on behalf of the overall company. But it already has the 4C sports car and yesterday, the company made it clear that Alfa Romeo’s next big hurdle is to compete with mainstream German luxury brands like BMW.

A low-cost sports car could serve to bolster Fiat’s reputation and image in North America and the veiled announcement about a “specialty” model opened speculation that the company’s collaboration with Mazda might yield a new Fiat nameplate instead.

Alfa Romeo Planning LOTS of RWD Models

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The future could finally be bright for Alfa Romeo. FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has been trying for years to breathe new life into the Italian brand and the latest push will take an estimated five billion Euros. That push will see the company selling not only its new 4C sports car, but several more models.

And the company seems to be taking its chance seriously. Right now, a crack squad of roughly 200 engineers are working together, led by two unnamed senior level staff members from Ferrari. That team is expected to triple in the near future. The goal: to come up with cars that can directly compete with German luxury. A competitor to the BMW 3 Series will show up sometime in 2015. The company says it will have a “best-in-class” rear-wheel drive platform.