There is much speculation that Chrysler's E-segment (known in the U.S. as "full size") 300 C model could underpin future Fiat and Alfa Romeo models; it is an option that Fiat's engineers are now evaluating.

FIAT 500 1.4 SPORT

First out of the blocks in the new Fiat-Chrysler partnership will be the former's 500 model. The Car of the Year 2008 award winner of which more than 300,000 have now been sold around the world in countries as far from Europe as Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina.


Fiat has now spent upwards of 100 million euros reengineering its Compact platform which will be known as C-Evo and which is scheduled to debut shortly on the Alfa 147 replacement (dubbed the 149/Milano).

With the deal between Fiat and Chrysler finally put to bed, attention is now turning to the Fiat and Alfa Romeo models that will now head Stateside – both under their own brand names, and as bases for future Chrysler models – as well as the Italian firm’s latest cutting-edge technologies.

First out of the blocks will be the Fiat 500.  The 2008 Car of the Year, of which more than 300,000 have now been sold around the world, has already been seen in public in the U.S. in recent months to aid the Fiat-Chrysler alliance, before going on sale next year. Initial cars will be imported before full production gets underway at Chrysler’s factory in Toluca, Mexico. The Toluca plant currently builds the Chrysler PT Cruiser and Dodge Journey, and with the former set to end production this summer it will free up capacity. This plant will also provide a springboard for Fiat to enter the strategically important Mexican market. While Fiat is the biggest player in Brazil and has a strong foothold in Argentina, north of Latin America its presence is virtually non-existent. The brand relaunched in Mexico three years ago through a private importer, but sales are minimal and many of the Fiat models now sold there are imported directly from Europe.

In B-segment, the SCCS (Small Common Components and Systems) platform – otherwise known as ‘Small’ – will be used as the basis for a new Dodge ‘subcompact’. Within the Fiat Group, the SCCS platform presently underpins the Fiat Grande Punto, Linea, Fiorino/Qubo and Alfa Romeo MiTo – the latter of which is expected to form one of the relaunch models for the Milanese marque in North America. Acclaimed as these models have been, a Dodge variant will need to be at the top of the game in order to take on the market segment’s current and pending crop of cars, including the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta. The new Dodge model will be built on the same assembly line as the Alfa MiTo in North America.

The compact category will see both Dodge and Chrysler making use of Fiat’s forthcoming C-Evo platform. ‘C-Evo’ is based on the Compact platform which debuted with the Fiat Stilo in 2001; mildly revised for its use underneath the Fiat Bravo in 2007, it was also stretched by 100mm to underpin the new Lancia Delta. Fiat has now spent upwards of 100 million euros re-engineering the platform into C-Evo, which is scheduled to debut shortly on the Alfa 147 replacement (dubbed the Milano). A highly-regarded platform by insiders, the key changes to C-Evo from the Compact architecture are a lengthened wheelbase, shorter overhangs, improved torsional rigidity, and new suspension, incorporating a new type of front strut arrangement and all-new multilink rear arrangement.  Dodge in particular is in need of a new compact model to replace its uncompetitive Caliber. An extended-wheelbase version of this platform, ‘D-Evo’, will form the basis for the Alfa Romeo 159 replacement and could also be used by Chrysler to develop replacements for the off-the-pace Avenger and Sebring models.

There is also speculation that Chrysler’s full-size 300C model could underpin future Fiat and Alfa Romeo models. The 300C was introduced in 2004 and the architecture is well-regarded stateside. A revised version which includes some re-engineering of the platform was due to be launched in 2010, however the restructuring of the failed carmaker has thrown all the laid plans off course. The 300C shares its platform with the sister Dodge Charger. The platform also underpins the well-received 200C prototype, which was shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January as an electric vehicle mock-up pointing towards a potential production model.

As well as platforms, technology to be introduced will include Fiat’s economical 4-cylinder FIRE unit, which will be built at Chrysler’s state-of-the-art engine manufacturing facility at Dundee in Michigan (commissioned during the previous ownership of the carmaker by Germany’s Daimler). The engines will utilise Fiat’s new Multiair induction technology which was announced in Geneva and is set to make its debut in the Alfa MiTo at this autumn’s Frankfurt IAA.

© 2009 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed