Can Chrysler count on Canadians buying Fiats?
According to Bigland, the forthcoming Fiat 500 city car, left, and its performance oriented Abarth model were big hits at last month’s Toronto auto show. As such, he thinks Chrysler partnering with Fiat, "fits like a glove."
As you may know, the 500 is expected to go on sale here early next year. Additional, yet-to-be-announced Fiat models are expected to appear in Canada after the 500's introduction to replace Chrysler’s current Dodge Caliber/Avenger, Chrysler Sebring and Jeep Compass/Patriot starting in 2012.
While most of today’s Chryslers are purchased because of their low pricing or generous incentives, refinement, reliability and quality aren’t part of the package.
In J.D. Power’s latest annual study of how well vehicles hold up after three years of ownership, all three Chrysler Group brands — Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep — fell in rank. Dodge and Jeep finished in the bottom third of the pack. And the 2009 Consumers Reports auto issue had Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep among the industry’s least reliable brands over the past 10 years.
However, based on Fiat’s current rankings, Canadians shouldn’t expect huge improvements. The ol’ Fix-It-Again-Tony joke still rings true for its current European models.
According to U.K.-based Which? (kind of a British Consumers Reports) Fiats and Alfa Romeos are near the bottom in reliability and “need to improve significantly to move way from the foot of table where they have languished for several years.”. While Brit magazine What Car? put Fiat 28th out of 28 brands in its 2008 Customer Satisfaction Index for two-year-old vehicles.
So do you think Chrysler Canada’s optimism for the new Fiat-based small cars is justified?
Will Canadians continue to buy Chryslers based on Fiat nuts and bolts?
[Source: Ward’s Automotive]