The plan won't be unveiled until April 21. But based on earlier announcements and conversations with industry watchers, we've been able to sketch out some likely key elements of the plan.
Marchionne already has promised that Fiat Group and Chrysler Group will sell a combined 5.5 million to 6 million vehicles by 2014. He says Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram will account for 2.8 million of the total. This means Fiat's seven brands (Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati, Fiat Professional) will have to sell 2.7 million to 3.2 million units in 2014 to do their part.
Last year, Fiat Group sold 2.3 million units while Chrysler Group sold 1.3 million.
Alfa Romeo is still struggling to build a strong business case to make a large sedan to replace the discontinued 166. Alfa needs a large sedan to compete in the U.S. market, but that segment is nearly dead in Europe and does not appear to be ready for a rebound.
If built, Alfa's new large sedan would be based on the Chrysler 300's rear-wheel-drive platform and manufactured in Chrysler's plant in Brampton, Ontario.
Fiat began taking over distribution of Chrysler Group vehicles in Europe this month. The changeover should be completed in 18 months. The April 21 presentation should explain how dealers for Chrysler Group and Fiat Group Automobiles will be combined in Europe and Latin America. Marchionne also is expected to detail how the Chrysler and Lancia brands will be combined in Europe.
Dodge will continue to sell its large rear-wheel Charger sedan and Challenger coupe in Europe under Fiat management. The same will be true for a future version of the Viper sports car. Front-wheel-drive models such as the Caliber and Avenger will be withdrawn from Europe. In Europe, the Nitro large SUV will become a Fiat-brand model by the end of the year. The Journey crossover will be rebadged as a Fiat starting in spring 2011.
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