Chrysler-Fiat's grand brand plan

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Bold aspirations to be sure, but the same deck can only be shuffled so many ways. Abandoning dime store interior materials would be a tremendous leap forward; but it's going to take more than better plastics and new sheet metal.

What Chrysler needs most from Fiat is the cash to fund the product reinvestment their aspirations require, especially as chief competitors are flooding domestic product pipelines with wholly new, proven vehicle platforms and complete beyond-the-chassis redesigns. Fiat had better have deep pockets.

Claiming to provide "more luxury" and pricing vehicles accordingly be enough to reposition Chrysler beyond Cadillac or Lincoln without also improving quality and reliability. Their biggest challenge is something engineers can design away, Chrysler's generally negative consumer perception.

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