12.01.2010 FIAT GROUP PRODUCTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE ON CHRYSLER STAND IN DETROIT

CHRYSLER BADGED LANCIA DELTA AT THE 22ND NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW, DETROIT, 2010
FIAT 500 BEV AND ABARTH 500 ESSEESSE AT THE 22ND NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW, DETROIT, 2010

The Chrysler Group stand in Detroit, which features no new models from any of its brands, is however hosting an array of models from Fiat, Abarth, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati, pointing towards the future overlap between the two companies.

The Chrysler stand at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which features no new models from any of the US carmaker's portfolio of brands, is however hosting an array of Fiat Group drawn models ranging across the Fiat, Abarth, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati divisions, to spice up the display and pointing towards the deep future overlap between the two companies.

Grabbing a lot of attention was a hastily re-grilled Lancia Delta which is at the show to offer pointers towards the planned tie-up between the legendary Italian carmaker and the failing Chrysler brand. The C-segment hatchback has had a Chrysler-style radiator grille quickly slotted into the front of the car and a badge attached to the steering wheel airbag and embossed on the headrests, although the car still retains its "Delta" badge on the dashboard. It is being called a 'design study' by Chrysler, and due to the costs of engineering it to federal standards it is unlikely to make it to the US, but its somewhat disappointing for the prestigious European Lancia brand to see its product badged by a down market targeted U.S. carmaker. The confusion of the quick badge engineering present at the show is exemplified by the official photo (right) which shows the Delta wearing the new Chrysler brand badge on its grille and embossed on the platform but the presentation screen above it the outgoing badge is being shown.

Also on the Chrysler stand is a prototype electric-powered Fiat 500, dubbed for Detroit as the 500 BEV. Curiously it has been clothed in an Abarth division body kit but is presented on the stand wearing Fiat badges. This is apparently just a packaging exercise according to Chrysler and there are no plans to develop an electric version of the 500 in the near future. The car it is claimed uses larger automotive-developed cells rather than the smaller lithium-ion ones in widespread use; these have been developed by Chrysler's now-disbanded ENVI team.

At the show Chrysler has claimed that the electrification division is expanding, despite the closure of ENVI, but its focus will be on commercial applications such as Ram trucks and a new light commercial van which is also supposedly being considered. Also on show is a production Abarth-branded version of the 500 in "esseesse" kit format; the Scorpion-tuned 500 is slated to follow the 500 and 500C onto the North American markets.

The Fiat Group's niche luxury/performance brands, Ferrari and Maserati, are also represented on the Chrysler Group stand at the NAIAS with the new 599XX race car from Maranello on show along with Modena's latest creation, the GranTurismo-based convertible GranCabrio. The Chrysler brand's, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, have nothing new on show, just a hasty array of special editions and some trim and equipment level upgrades.
 

2010 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed