Chrysler, Fiat to work on seven new models

DETROIT, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Chrysler LLC and Fiat SpA (FIA.MI) will bring seven new vehicles to North America under their new alliance, Automotive News said on Monday, citing sources who have seen the product-sharing agreement.

Of the seven vehicles — which will be built at Chrysler plants in North America and sold through select Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealerships — four will be sold under the Chrysler brand name and three as Fiats or Alfa Romeos, the magazine said.

Italy’s Fiat unveiled a deal last week to take a 35 percent stake in struggling automaker Chrysler in exchange for access to technology and overseas markets.

Under the terms of the deal, Fiat will not pay cash for the stake in Chrysler, which is 80.1 percent owned by Cerberus.

A Chrysler spokesman said the company was still in the middle of due diligence, which was expected to be completed by the end of April.

Jim Press, Chrysler’s vice chairman, said on Friday the company was not ready to talk about its product plan with Fiat.

“It takes three to four years to develop platforms,” Press told reporters on the sidelines of the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention. “We’re just going through due diligence right now.”

Chrysler Executive Vice President for Product Development Frank Klegon said last week that both companies were working on a product plan

According to Automotive News, the product plan includes vehicles on four Fiat platforms and the two companies have not decided on timing or volumes.

Teams at both companies were hammering out details of a plan they hope to make final by April 30, the magazine said, adding that under the tentative agreement, Chrysler will make the Fiat 500 at Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico, plant.

Chrysler will retool the Toluca factory, where it currently makes the Dodge Journey crossover and Chrysler PT Cruiser.

The U.S. automaker has said it was looking to sell the tooling to make the PT Cruiser after the model is phased out this summer.

Analysts have said that Chrysler, which burned through $9 billion in the second half of last year to end 2008 with $2 billion cash, cannot survive without a partner.

The company received a lifeline in January after the U.S. government granted it $4 billion in emergency loans. (Reporting by Poornima Gupta with additional reporting by Soyoung Kim in New Orleans; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)



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