As the European sales of the rebadged Dodge Journey exceeded expectations, Fiat S.p.A. is urging Chrysler Group to expand the production of the Freemont large minivan.
During the introduction last June in Italy, Fiat said that it aims to sell 13,000 Freemonts in 2011; however, the carmaker told Automotive News Europe that so far, 15,700 orders have been received. Fiat is targeting sales of 33,000 Freemonts in 2012, its first full year of European sales.
Because of this, Fiat pledged the production of 3,000 Freemonts each month from Chrysler's plant in Toluca, Mexico.
To comply with the higher demand in Europe, Chrysler raised the output at Freemont by over a third to 4,067 units in June by implementing overtime.
Chrysler is finding methods to get Fiat 4,000 Freemonts each month without incurring the added cost of overtime. The European version of the minivan is different from the U.S. version. It has a different front and rear styling. Modifications were made to its handling and suspension settings.
It features Fiat's MultiJet 2 diesel engine that doesn’t come from Dodge. Freemont has high sales, partly because Fiat has a more extensive dealer network than Chrysler did when it still had independent operations in Europe. Market researcher JATO Dynamics said that the Journey's sales in Europe peaked at 8,318 units in 2009 before dropping last year by 23.4% to 6,375 units.
It was last September that Fiat took over Chrysler’s European distribution. As a result, Fiat currently owns 52% of Chrysler. With this change, it means that Chrysler Group products, whether badged as a Fiat or Lancia, have wider exposure than ever in Europe since there are 1,500 dealers in Europe for the Fiat brand alone.
The Fiat Freemont is the first car to be produced after the multinational carmaker partnered with the Chrysler Group. Evoking a sense of freedom and abandon, the SUV makes you think that it can rise up to any challenge that may be present in daily driving. The Fiat Freemont is perfect for families, or those looking to have a more comfortable, spacious and flexible SUV to help with the hectic pace of life.
The Fiat Freemont combines practicality and flexibility. Measuring 489 cm long, 169 cm high, and 188 cm wide, with a 289-cm wheelbase, you simply have a lot of space inside. This helps make long distances seem shorter because everyone is comfortable and safe.
The automaker is positioning the Fiat Freemont as "All the car you want" because the Freemont gives you everything you need to travel just about anywhere. And with everyone you want at that. You do not have to compromise or choose!
The front of the Fiat Freemont is athletic, muscular and strong. The rear end has distinctively LED tail lamps, while the interiors are dominated by soft-touch and high-quality materials.
The wrap-around dashboard is decorated with chrome trims and features a new instrument panel, an eye-catching center console and the latest infotainment system. The innovative infotainment panel has a 4.3-inch color touch screen from where you could control several functions, including the stereo system and the climate control system. It also features a radio, CD and MP3 player, as well as Bluetooth capabilities, a USB port and an AUX port.
The SUV gives you maximum versatility, comfort and space. It has standard seven seats and even so, the third row is not cramped as it is in other SUVs. The rear doors also open to a wide 90-degree angle, giving easy access to the third row. These third- row seats may also be folded down easily, giving you more space when you need it. The second-row seats can also be folded down, as well as the front passenger seat. All of these give you a total of 32 seating configurations that allow for more space when you need it, if you need it.
The back seats are mounted higher, wherein the second-row seats are higher than the driver and front passenger seats, while the third-row seats are higher than the second-row seats so that everybody will be able to see everything and be more comfortable.
And if you are traveling with children, the second row features a child booster system to ensure that children are seated safely when they are onboard. This also helps ensure that the seatbelts are on correctly, helping the kids have a safer, more comfortable ride. See just how perfect for families the Freemont really is?
Ergonomic seats, the space and the high driving position all ensure maximum comfort on-board the Freemont. Additionally, you have access to a variety of storage compartments, a flat load design, and a ridiculously generous luggage area that has two compartments. All in all, you can have up to 1461 liters of capacity, and that is enough for at least 10 suitcases. There are more than 20 storage compartments that give you more capacity and allow you to easily fit everything you need to fit into a city car boot.
The USB and AUX-in port means that you can use your iPod while you also have access to a 12-volt power socket for recharging your devices while on the road. There is also an accessible and convenient compartment under the passenger seat, as well as two compartments under the mats of the second row floor.
And if you are wondering what is under the hood, then you should be delighted to find that the Fiat Freemont has a 2.0 L MultiJet 2 engine. You can opt between the 140 hp or the 170 hp variety, giving you control on just how powerful your Freemont should be. It features a manual gearbox and uses front wheel drive. Other versions of the Freemont that you can choose from include the all wheel drive version that comes equipped with the 170 HP 2.0L MultiJet 2 engine or the 3.6L petrol V6 engines that deliver 276 hp of output. Both of these versions will have automatic gearboxes for driving safety and comfort. All of the power units you see in the Fiat Freemont are developed and manufactured by Fiat Powertrain, except for the 3.6-liter engine that is produced by the Chrysler Group’s Pentastar.
The diesel engines are designed to put an emphasis on three things: driving pleasure, fuel consumption and performance. You get up to 350 Newton meters of torque at 1750 rpm in the 170 hp variant, while the 140 hp engine produces the same torque at 2000 rpm. In normal driving, the torque is always more than 300 Newton meters to help ensure maximum roadholding and minimized downshifts. It takes you 11 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h using the 170 hp version (12.3 seconds for the 140 hp model), while you have maximum speeds of 195 km/h and 180 km/h for the 170 hp and 140 hp versions, respectively.