Fiat and Chrysler suppliers to benefit from US launch of Fiat-based models

Article by Anita Panait, on March 26, 2012

Fiat suppliers will likely benefit from Chrysler Group’s launching of Fiat-based vehicles in the United States, according to Dan Knott, Chrysler's head of purchasing. Chrysler’s suppliers, however, does not have to worry about not getting a piece of the action, as they will get a fair share of the work, Knott said, remarking that they should have added to pick up Fiat work in Europe. 

Starting April 2012, the Chrysler Group will commence building vehicles using Fiat’s platforms; starting with the 2013 Dodge Dart compact that will be launched at the company’s Belvidere factory in Illinois. Chrysler will then kick off production for the replacement for its Jeep Liberty sports utility vehicle in the first half of 2013 at its Toledo North plant. The company is currently renovating the Toledo North plant at a cost of $500 million just to prepare for the production of Fiat-based vehicles.

With regards to the company’s suppliers, Knott said there will be an increase in the number of suppliers who will accommodate both Chrysler and Fiat in the next two or three years, says Autonews.

According to the company’s 2009 product plan, at least eight compact and mid-sized vehicles will share Fiat's CUS-Wide platform, including the Dart and the Liberty replacement. Fiat had used a slightly slimmer version of the CUS-Wide platform for its Alfa Romeo Giulietta model.

Knott said Chrysler tapped some suppliers who had experienced working with the platform with Fiat’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta in Europe. One of the suppliers that seemed to have benefited from the alliance is Magneti Marelli S.p.A., an Italian supplier that is part of Fiat Group. Magneti Marelli builds lighting, instrument clusters, infotainment modules, shock absorbers and powertrain components, and currently supplies parts for the Dodge Dart.

The new 2013 Dodge Dart has an exterior that continues to have the unique and timeless design the brand is known for. It has a visually agile look aside from having a fluid, sculpted, and sports appearance. This design brings with it aesthetic emotion and with the timeless surfaces implemented on it, brings it that needed excitement to the already competitive compact sedan class in the U.S. market. Looking at the 2013 Dart, it becomes apparent that this profile is similar to a coupe while the stance reveals a body-in and wheels-out configuration.

This is due to the architecture made possible by the Fiat Group-based Compact U.S. Wide, or CUS-wide. The platform itself has long, wide, yet low dimensions. Under this architecture, it made it possible to highlight the fender formations and with the wheels being pushed out to the corners as far as possible, it results in a stable appearance. In addition, this also gave the design team a chance to implement some rather dramatic sculpturing.

For instance, the team visually stretched the model’s skin above the framework similar to how one would stretch nylon over a flat surface. Performance is excellent considering that the 2013 Dodge Dart manages to redefine the Alfa Romeo language. It is equipped with new powertrains that are fuel efficient and that continues to have the passion for performance associated with the brand.

Intelligent functionality, safety features that are top of the class, and pioneering technology, all of these are part of the 2013 Dart allowing it to achieve new benchmarks for the compact car class in terms of fun-to-drive dynamics, functionality, style, roominess, and personalization. The brand disclosed that five trim levels will be offered for the 2013 Dart and these are the SE, the SXT, the Rallye, the Limited, and the R/T.

This model will be manufactured at Chrysler Group's U.S. assembly plant located in Belvidere, Illinois. Production is expected to start by the second quarter of 2012. Commenting on this, President and Chief Executive Officer at Dodge Brand of Chrysler Group LLC, Reid Bigland revealed that the new Dart is groundbreaking in the sense that it is bound to make customers happy as it offers no compromises and is a fun-to-drive car packaged with a great value.

For the 2013 Dart, a selection of 12 colors will be offered for the exterior with the color and the trim options for the interior amounting to 14 choices, he added. There will also be three engines to offered, all powerful and fuel-efficient with three transmission options as well, he continued.

Add in world-class dynamics and unmatched safety features and you get a car that stands apart from the rest in the compact car class, concluded Bigland. Indeed, the 2013 Dodge Dart is well-crafted, has a beautiful design, fuel-efficient, and best of all, fun to drive.

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