The air around the press conference of the Fiat brand was one of excitement and anticipation. The anticipation was not merely for the Fiat 500, the company’s first model in the US since leaving in 1983, The buzz was also due to witnessing the return of a Fiat that now has a large stake in the future of one of the hurting US automakers, the Chrysler Group. Laura Soave, head of Fiat brand in America, introduced the options and trim levels of the 500 then ended with a surprise introduction of Fiat President and CEO Sergio Marchionne. Sergio was greeted with a press reception that seemed more akin to that of a Britney Spears sighting, with people clamoring to get pictures and desperate to get any additional info from a man who has been open in touting that the Fiat company is very serious about the investment in Chrysler and its hasty change to make a product that suits the current market conditions.
Sergio and the management at Fiat gave the designers the go-ahead to refresh nearly all the interiors, fine tune the suspension, and adjust some styling aspects of many of the model across the Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler lineup. The results have been remarkable as the new interior felt fantastic in person and are nearly impossible to compare to the interiors we are used to seeing in the current lineup of cars. Nearly all of the models in the Dodge lineup were refreshed while Chrysler only showed the “all new” Chrysler 200 and the upgraded Town and Country.
From early road test results, the new products have handling and powertrain capabilities that are now on par with that of the competition. Sergio also announced this week that the company would be issuing large investments in plants in Italy and America to continue to develop and produce new technology like a 6 speed dual-cluth transmission that was announced to be fitted to the Chrysler 200 in the next year. So far this partnership with Chrysler and Fiat seems to be headed in the right direction and gives hope to all the Mopar fans out there that may have lost hope in the company in recent years… should be exciting to see what develops in the coming years, especially when a Grand Cherokee-based Maserati SUV is in the works