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Lanchlers and Chryliats Debut in Geneva

Are Fiat and Chrysler blurring the lines a bit too much?

by on Mar.02, 2011

No, it's not a Chrysler 300, but the newly reborn Lancia Thema - based on the Chrysler 300.

If American visitors to the Geneva Motor Show get a sense of déjà vu at the Fiat and Lancia stands, that’s no surprise.  While they might wear a European badge, a variety of new models are indeed familiar to U.S. motorists – and raise fundamental questions about the alliance between Fiat and its trans-Atlantic partner, Chrysler.

The most notable debut from Lancia at this year’s Geneva show is the Thema, a reborn version of the brand’s flagship, which was discontinued in 1994. While the badge on the grille might be Italian, the rest of the car is a virtually unchanged Chrysler 300, the new version of which has just launched in the U.S. market.

Think of it as, “The first global flagship that combines the best of two worlds,” Lancia officials declared during their press conference.

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The Lancia stand also features the Voyager, also lifted, near whole, from the Chrysler line-up.  And the maker is showing a new concept car, the Flavia, which is based on the U.S. 200 sedan.  A production version is likely to debut in the coming months.

Over at the Fiat booth, the maker revealed the big Freemont crossover, also pulled from the Chrysler stable.  The European version was “developed to meet European needs and expectations,” officials declared to the assembled press core.


Dodge-based Fiat Freemont One of Many Chrysler-Based Product Debuts in Geneva

New badges, new powertrains, but will Europeans accept American maker under any name?

by on Jan.25, 2011

The Dodge Journey will reappear, at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, with a Fiat badge on its nose.

Geneva Motor Show-goers will be the first to see tangible evidence of the fast-expanding relationship between Italy’s Fiat and its U.S. partner, Chrysler, when the pair lift the covers on the all-new Fiat Freemont, early next month.

Make that more-or-less new.  While the Freemont nameplate is an addition to Fiat’s European line-up, the crossover is familiar to American motorists under the Dodge Journey nameplate.  Both models will be produced at Chrysler’s plant in Toluca, Mexico.

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The addition of the Journey is a critical next step in the evolution of the relationship between the U.S. maker and Fiat, which stepped in to help pull Chrysler out of bankruptcy, in 2009.  Significantly, the White house laid out a series of targets that Fiat must meet to bring its initial 20% stake in Chrysler up to as much as 51%.  That includes introducing high-mileage models in the U.S., as well as expanding the American maker’s traditionally insignificant presence abroad.

The Geneva Motor Show will witness a number of moves designed to meet that last requirement.  A variety of Chrysler-based models will debut there, including a revised 2011 version of the maker’s minivan, a new flagship sedan for Fiat’ upscale Lancia brand, and the more mainstream Fiat Freemont.