Sergio Marchionne’s recent interview with Automotive News’ Luca Ciferri yielded both new information and confirmations of prior rumors.
First, Chrysler’s CEO revealed that the new architecture for the Chrysler minivans was already complete, though the timing of their launch is still unknown. The figure “within 21 months” was tossed out as a possibility. This indicates that the new minivans are most likely around 2 years from being available on dealer lots. Chrysler’s schedules have been tight and delays have become common as a result, so 21 months is likely to be on the early side of an estimate.
While he said his preference would be to have sliding doors on the Town & Country replacement and standard doors on a Dodge crossover, he also said that the issue would likely be decided by current clinics and market research.
Mr. Marchionne said that the Chrysler 100 was nearly complete, and just needed approval. It will be sold in Europe as the Lancia Delta. Earlier reports suggested that, while a team effort, Chrysler 100 development was led by Lancia people. It is based on the same basic architecture as the Dodge Dart, with rumors and Allpar projections suggesting it will be sold as a hatchback even in North America; the hatchback form was confirmed in the interview.
Perhaps most immediate, the next-generation Chrysler 200 has been confirmed as being unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2013. This car is based on the same basic platform and architecture as the Dodge Dart, and is expected to be somewhat larger, with traditional luxury cues inside and out, and a 3.2 liter V6 option coupled to a nine-speed automatic (if that transmission is ready). Production would likely start around March to July 2013.