New alliance may bring storied Fiat 500 to the North American market. Fiat and Chrysler are already cooperation on bringing Fiat models to North American product lineup.
Mergers in the automotive world are rarely greeted without criticism and already the doubters have spoken on the Fiat-Chrysler alliance. But the two companies have wasted no time and have already begun cooperating on creating an integrated product portfolio.
Design executives from the two automakers have arranged to meet this week to discuss the North American product lineup that will result from the alliance.
Chrysler is hungry for small, fuel-efficient vehicles which it wants to introduce quickly into its lineup and the companies are discussing which Fiat models will make the best fit. Fiat has a storied experience in making small cars and its current models have made Fiat a success again in Europe.
One of those is the Fiat 500, a 60s era classic the Turin-based automaker recent revived. The Fiat 500, a sales winner in Europe, may make it to US shores as a result of the new alliance.
The automakers have not made clear whether Fiats will come on their own or whether most models will be re-badged as a Chrysler or Dodge.
But the iconic 500 is clearly not a car that can be sold as anything other than a Fiat.
Ralph Gilles, Chrysler's vice president for design and an Alfa Romeo fan, is excited by the possibilities of tapping into Fiat technology and design.
"The passion inside Fiat is amazing. I mean, from their Formula One cars, the Alfa Romeo lines, the new 500, you can see that design is a real big deal over there. The Italians are known for design. I am pretty enthused by it," he said to Automotive News.