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Blade on Chrysler execs: Jeep, Dodge, manufacturing

by David Zatz on

The Toledo Blade’s Larry P. Vellequette interviewed Sergio Marchionne at the North American Auto Show. The CEO of Fiat and Chrysler said that he would not produce cars that aren’t being ordered, as Chrysler, DaimlerChrysler, and Cerberus reportedly did, saying, “If I need to shut the plants, I will. Marchionne also said the first half sales for Chrysler in 2009 were (in the Blade’s words) “a fantasy of unprofitable incentives and wholesale pushes intended to show volume that wasn’t there prior to the automaker going into bankruptcy in April.”

The article quoted Marchionne as saying:

“[In the first half of 2009] We were pumping out cars at the speed of light with incredibly heavy discounting attached, so the volumes were absolutely unnatural. I can replicate that world, but I know that I can also replicate the bankruptcy if I do that.”

He also said the new Fiat C-EVO platform, which will be used for both C (Caliber sized) and D (Sebring sized) vehicles, will be used for the next Jeep Liberty and about half of Chrysler’s cars and SUVs in North America. A platform is a set of dimensions, to which different suspension, body, and powertrain architectures can be fitted. Conceivably, the flexible Toledo Jeep plant could build a large variety of vehicles in addition to the Liberty.

Michael Manley of Jeep said that the next refresh would directly address customer feedback, and wold particularly answer criticisms of off-road enthusiasts.

Ralph Gilles said that customers were responding to changes in the Nitro, which include a standard 4-liter V6 and 20-inch wheels. He said there were 2,300 orders for it in a single week, a major uptick.

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