At the launch of the Fiat 500 TwinAir in Ireland yesterday (December 13), it was confirmed that the Fiat Group of companies, which will encompass Chrysler and Jeep, will launch an unprecedented 26 new models in the next two years.
From June 1, 2011, Fiat will take over the marketing of Chrysler and Jeep in Ireland from OHM. Globally, the current direction for the brands is that Lancias will be rebadged Chryslers in right-hand drive markets such as the UK and Ireland. New models due in 2011 from Chrysler will be the Delta hatchback, an updated Grand Voyager MPV and the all-new Ypsilon supermini. The release of a new 300C saloon has yet to be confirmed.
Jeep dealers will receive the current Wrangler, along with significantly facelifted versions of the Patriot, Compass and Grand Cherokee. A new C-segment Alfa Romeo crossover has also been given the green light, based on a Jeep platform.
Fiat will rebadged the Dodge Journey MPV in parts of Europe, though that car has not yet been confirmed for right-hand drive. In general the Dodge brand will only be used for niche high-performance models such as the Viper and Challenger - and they'll not come to Ireland through official channels.
While the number of Irish dealers selling Chryslers and Jeeps is likely to reduce in the longer term, servicing will be possible across a much wider network and there will be new multi-brand showrooms.
Fiat's new headquarters (location yet to be confirmed) will encompass a state-of-the art showroom, which it is hoped will feature Ireland's first Abarth outlet.
Pictured is the 2011 Jeep Compass. An all-new front end gives it the appearance of the recently updated Grand Cherokee, while the interior has been significantly revised. For European markets the Compass will be powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, which apparently offers improved performance, economy and emissions over the current 2.0-litre unit. It is expected to sit in Band C for tax when it arrives in Ireland by the middle of next year.