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Fiat is set to increase ownership in Chrysler, from 25 to 30 percent, within the next few weeks, assuming regulatory bodies are satisfied with Fiat’s ability to meet specific demands for Chrysler.
Fiat has already been able to generate $1.5 billion in revenue for Chrysler outside of North America, but still needs to build a Fiat-based car in North America capable of getting 40 mpg. Fiat is aiming to own a 51 percent stake in Chrysler by the end of 2011.
CEO Sergio Marchionne is hoping that Chrysler will increase global sales by 32 percent and post a net profit for the first time this year. Fiat will also begin exporting Chrysler vehicles to Brazil and sell them as Fiats, where the brand is the current market leader. Among the products that will be offered are the Dodge Journey crossover, sold as the Fiat Freemont.
[Source: Automotive News]
We’ve heard a lot of talk about what kind of cars might result from the Fiat/Chrysler venture, but until now, most if was speculation.
Outwardly, the Freemont is set to look virtually identical to the Journey; indeed both vehicles will be built side by side at the same plant in Toluca Mexico; but aside from minor differences such as lights, safety equipment and feature content, the Freemont will differ by using Fiat powertrains – 2.0-liter Multijet turbo diesel four cylinder engines, likely rated at 140 and 175 horsepower, teamed with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
In addition, the suspension, steering and chassis have been retuned in the quest to make the Freemont feel more ‘Fiat like’ on the road.
Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, automatic transmission and AWD, currently offered on the Journey, are slated to join the options list down the road, but given high taxes and fuel costs in Europe, the vast majority of Freemonts sold there will be diesel powered.
In an effort to simplify the ordering process and keep the price attractive to potential buyers, Fiat will offer just two trim levels, the more upmarket of which will sport 17-inch alloy wheels, special trim accents, standard Bluetooth communication system, rear parking assist, fold down mirrors, automatic headlights and privacy glass.
See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Geneva Auto Show preview here.