Caught: Fiat-based mules for Jeep, Chrysler
Glimpses of two more Fiat-based vehicles for Chrysler Group leaked out last week.
Test mules of a small hatchback, the Chrysler 100, and the replacement vehicle for the Jeep Liberty were caught by spy photographers.
Mules show little sheet metal of the eventual production vehicles. But the pictures do show the vehicles' proportions and general shape.
The Chrysler 100 and the Jeep Liberty replacement are built upon a stretched and widened version of the platform that underlies the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Up to eight new Chrysler vehicles are expected to share the CUSW platform -- for "compact U.S. wide" -- including the 2013 Dodge Dart, which is expected to arrive in showrooms in the second quarter.
The Chrysler 100 mule, with mainly Giulietta sheet metal, has a Chrysler corporate nose and grille. The car is scheduled to go on sale in 2013.
The car will have a similar Lancia brand version to sell in international markets.
In January, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News that Chrysler "needed a hatch on this architecture, a [Chrysler] 100," to compliment the larger Chrysler 200 and 300 sedans.
More details have leaked out about the Liberty replacement, which is scheduled to be revealed at the Detroit auto show in January.
The mule's cladding appears to hide a Jeep's seven-slot grille, but there's nothing disguising the mule's off-road ready Yokohama Geolander AT-S tires and beefy suspension.
Company and other sources say the Liberty's replacement -- or at least some versions of it -- are likely to arrive with a new 3.2-liter version of Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission from ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
The sources say the engine likely will use an updated version of Fiat's MultiAir variable valve timing and have considerably better fuel economy than the current two-wheel- drive Liberty's 16 mpg city/22 highway.
Marchionne suggested the vehicle would weigh 3,600 pounds, about 500 pounds less than the Liberty. It will also have versions with a "trail rated" certification, the CEO said, although it is not expected to have the same mechanical off-road capabilities as the trail-rated Liberty.
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