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14. Acura ZDX
As 2012 winds to an end, AutoGuide looks back at all the vehicles that received the axe this year, some that will be missed, while others surely won’t be.
Starting it off is the Acura ZDX, a crossover that had a very tough time breaking into the market. Priced at around $51,815 including delivery, the ZDX was hardly a hot seller for the Japanese automaker, and it’s clear that Acura can’t wait to move forward from it.
We’re frankly surprised the Caliber even lasted this long, having debuted in 2006 as a replacement to Dodge’s Neon to much negative press. In fact, the majority of the media regarded the Caliber as the bottom of the barrel in terms of small compacts, and was considered the worst of an already bad bunch of econoboxes.
The all-new Dart should be a sleek successor to the Caliber, based on a platform by Fiat’s Alfa Romeo brand. Many anticipate the Dart’s sales to be much more successful than the Caliber ever was.
[Source: Detroit News]
Discuss this story at DartForums.com
The Dodge Caliber is scheduled to go out of production this November, as a new Fiat-based compact car takes its place. Chrysler enthusiast website Allpar confirms the Caliber’s demise, and lists November 23rd as the final date for the ill-fated Dodge compact.
The Caliber’s replacement is said to get 40 mpg thanks to a government requirement for taking bailout money. Fuel economy was a chief complaint among Caliber owners, and the vehicle never really moved well in the marketplace. As time wore on and sales withered, the Caliber became little more than rental car fodder, and Chrysler’s decision to end production was probably a wise one.
With the recent launch of several big and powerful SRT models, including the Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, high-performance boss Ralph Gilles is now looking down-market.
In an interview with Automobile Magazine the new head of the SRT division and an avid car-nut, Gilles admitted that while he loved the Dodge Neon SRT4, when it came to the Caliber version, perhaps the brand “over reached.”
However, “I’m a big believer in high-horsepower, small displacement cars,” he admits, “so I’d love to do another.”
Interest alone won’t get a car built though, but having the right tools at your disposal will. “We have some great [small car] platforms finally,” said Gilles, referring to the upcoming Caliber replacement which is expected to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next January.
When pushed further Gilles commented that a high-performance compact car is being investigated. “I definitely think we need an entry-level performance vehicle at some point,” he said.
With the Caliber’s replacement not due until early 2012, look for an SRT version to bow, at the earliest, a year after that.
Remember when your parents told you that if you didn’t do well the first time, try, try again? Fiat and Dodge have heeded that advice. So when you’re at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, expect to see Caliber: Round Two.
A small hatchback in the vein of the Caliber will debut for the 2013 model year at the Detroit Auto Show in a few months. It will ride on Fiat’s C-Evo platform that also underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which is scheduled to arrive in America sometime this year.
Not much is known about the Caliber right now except for this Bigfoot-esque blurry, grainy render above: it’s not known what engines will be inside, or whether it will even be called Caliber. After the dismal vehicle it replaces, we won’t be surprised if Dodge chooses to damnatio memoriae that nameplate. But, in traditional fashion, it will be larger than the car it replaces.
[Source: Ward's via Autoblog]
Chrysler will have a short 2011 model year, as its revamped efforts for this year haven’t even finished arriving, while ordering for the 2012 model year cars will begin in just over a month.
After its 2009 bankruptcy, Chrysler doubled down to bring out a slate of revised products for 2011. A total of 16 products were revamped within 18 months, but some cars, like the 2011 Chrysler 300, have yet to arrive at dealers. Meanwhile, ordering of the 2012 models begins in late May, with production commencing in July.
Dealers don’t seem too concerned with the issue, and anticipate a smooth transition to the 2012 model year. A whole host of changes are scheduled for 2012, including an all-new Pentastar V6 for the Jeep Wrangler, and a replacement for the underwhelming Dodge Caliber based on a Fiat platform.
[Source: Automotive News]
Dodge‘s trademark cross-hair grille, the front end treatment that has been the hallmark of the brand’s styling for years, will become the sole domain of the Ram truck brand, as the Chrysler division moves toward a new look for future products.
“It takes time. We will evolve the products,” Ralph Gilles, CEO of Dodge and Chrysler’s design chief, told Automotive News. “We did as much as we could with the split cross-hair grille,” he said. “We had to be careful because the cooling work was pretty much done when we decided to rebrand the vehicles. That will continue evolving over time.”
No plans were divulged with regards to Dodge’s new look, but with cars like the new Charger leading the way, and attempting to target a different kind of buyer, perhaps a more mature look is in line for the brand as Chrysler moves upscale, and Dodge has been seperated from Ram Trucks, which understandably needs to project a macho image.
[Source: Automotive News]
Dodge‘s largely unloved Caliber compact hatchback will get the ax in 2012, with Chrysler replacing the car with a model based on Alfa Romeo’s much lauded Giulietta hatchback.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed that the mid-size Alfa hatch would underpin the new Dodge model while commenting on Fiat’s 3rd quarter earnings. The Giulietta will likely be a positive fit in the Dodge lineup, which is Chrysler’s “sporty brand”, although the reaction of Alfa Romeo purists remains to be seen.
[Source: USA Today]
The first Fiat-based Dodge model is set to debut in late 2011 and is believed to be the replacement for current Caliber. Like the Caliber it will be a compact model and will be based on Fiat’s new Compact Wide architecture, which first debuted on the all new Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Power will come from Fiat’s 1.4-liter FIRE MultiAir engine and the engine, like the car will be produced in the U.S. Fiat is targeting a 40-mpg highway rating for the car, possibly as a special high-mileage model, although with Ford claiming 40-mpg highway for the 2.0-liter Focus, it’s possible all versions of the Caliber replacement will get 40-mpg highway if not better.
The Caliber is set to continue on in production until mid-2012 at which point it will be replaced by the Fiat-based model.
The same architecture is likely to be used for a Chrysler model in the future.
[Source: Automotive News]
Chrysler is recalling 25,265 Dodge Caliber and 71 Jeep Compass models due to faulty throttles that may become stuck, in a manner similar to the infamous Toyota gas pedals that lead to a number of motorist deaths and injuries.
The accelerators were made by CTS Corp, the Indiana based supplier of the defective Toyota pedals. Unlike those units, Chrysler’s were allegedly equipped with brake override, which slows the car down when both the accelerator and brake pedals are applied. The recall follows a NHTSA investigation that began after five people complained of sticking pedals in their Chrysler vehicles.
Last week Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set out a long-winded plan for the future of the American automaker and how its future will be closely tied to its new Italian parent company. There was a lot to digest at the seven hour press conference and so we thought a model by model breakdown would be helpful and would shed some light on what appears to be the general plan to eliminate old Chrysler products and replace them with new Chrysler Group-branded Fiat models. So let’s start with Dodge…
From the smallest to the largest vehicles, Dodge will see the introduction of a subcompact car in 2013 based on the Alfa Romeo MiTo. Currently Dodge does not offer a sub-compact with its smallest offering being the compact Caliber, which receives a mild update this year but will be eliminated in 2012 and then replaced the same year by a Fiat Group-based vehicle. Presumably it will be another Alfa Romeo platform, however, the car will be built in the U.S.
Moving to the mid-size segment, the Avenger will also be updated for 2010 and then replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
The future for the Journey, Grand Caravan and Charger is more positive, with the Journey and Grand Caravan getting updates for 2010 with a new Grand Caravan due in 2014. The Charger will be all-new for 2011 with a new interior and exterior, after originally launching in 2006. A new rear suspension will also be part of the package. As for its Challenger sibling, it will be updated for the 2012 model year.
Two vehicles that will be eliminated are the Nitro and Viper, with the Nitro slated to be scraped in 2011 (with a possible successor), while the Viper will cease production mid next year with a potential sports car replacing it in 2012.
One new model will be added to the Dodge lineup; a seven-seater crossover based on the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above).
The new Ram brand still won’t have a lot going on, although Fiat is looking to expand its offerings. The Dakota is scheduled to cease production late in 2011 with a possible unibody pickup to replace it. As for the Ram 1500, it will get a mid-cycle refresh in 2012, as will the heavy duty Ram trucks. A chassis cab version of the Ram will also arrive in 2010.
Two additions to the lineup include a front-drive small work van and full-sized van in 2012. The small van will be similar in purpose to Ford’s Transit Connect and will be based on the next-generation Fiat Doblo. It will be imported from either Turkey or Brasil. As for Ram’s new full-sized van offering, it will be one of two vehicles: either the body-on frame Iveco Daily or the unibody Fiat Ducato. Unlike the small van, this full-sized unit will be assembled in the U.S.
Starting in the small scale, the Chrysler Brand will also get a subcompact, although (surprisingly) it will not be based on the same Alfa Romeo vehicle as the Dodge sub-compact. Instead, it will be underpinned by the next-generation Lancia Ypsilon five-door hatch and will go on sale in 2013.
A new compact sedan (based on a Fiat Group platform) will be launched in 2012. It is not clear if the Fiat Group platform is the same one that will underpin the Dodge compact sedan. The same can be said for the Sebring, which, like its current Dodge counterpart (the Avenger) will get styling updates next year and be replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
As for the PT Cruiser, it will be eliminated late next year – although we’ve heard that one before.
The Chrysler 300, like the Dodge Charger, will be all-new for 2011 with the new model arriving some time next year. Styling is expected to be evolutionary, so don’t expect much change – which is probably a good thing.
And as for Chrysler’s final product, the Town & Country minivan, it will get updates next year with a new model in 2014. Fiat hopes to differentiate the Chrysler minivan from its Dodge counterpart by taking it more up-market. (Have we learned nothing from the R-Class?)
Finally, there’s the Jeep brand, where we’ve already learned the Patriot, Compass and Commander will be eliminated over the next few years. The first to meet the scrap heap is the Commander, with production ending late next year, while the Patriot and Compass will be get mild updates for 2010 before being retired in 2012. Interestingly, Fiat may build and sell the Commander overseas after 2010.
At the low end of the spectrum, a new subcompact SUV will arrive in 2013 based on the next generation Fiat Panda Cross, while a new compact crossover will arrive the same year based on an unnamed Fiat Group platform. A new Liberty will also arrive that year, again based on a Fiat.
As for Jeep’s core vehicles, the Wrangler will get a new interior next year, with a new engine offered in 2011. The Grand Cherokee will continue on as planned with the new model debuting next year as a 2011 model.
[Source: Automotive News]
A week ahead of a planned Fiat/Chrysler press conference in which Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both automakers, was to outline the future of Chrysler, much of the information has been revealed in an in-depth report in the Wall Street Journal. But before we get to the new products that the Italian-owned automaker is planning to bring into the North American marketplace, it’s time to learn the fate of the vehicles being axed. And judging from the list, it appears as though Fiat is intent on moving its products in and Chrysler’s products out.
The vehicles to be cut include the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Sebring. On the Dodge side, four models will be eliminated, including the Caliber, Nitro, Avenger and Grand Caravan. Three Jeeps will also meet their maker: the Commander, Compass and Patriot.
In place of these vehicles Fiat is ready to announce the introduction of the 500 in 2011, along with three Alfa Romeo vehicles: the MiTo (shown above), Milano (which will replace the 147) and another yet unnamed mid-sized sedan.
The rest of the plan will see the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger redesigned in 2011, with the Grand Cherokee due out soon. And with only two Chrysler products left, the rumored decision to axe that brand’s name may just happen.
The Wall Street Journal made no mention of past reports that the Fiat Panda would see its way to the U.S. as a Jeep. There is also no word on if the Fiat 500 will be offered in just it’s standard hatchback form, or if a convertible and sporty Abarth version will also join the product lineup.
GALLERY: Alfa Romeo MiTo
[Source: WallStreetJournal via KickingTires]