DETROIT -- Chrysler Group took its dealers by surprise this week by showing them concept versions of the Jeep pickup truck and 2012 Dodge Viper.
The unveilings came Tuesday at the company's national dealer announcement show in Orlando -- the first such show the company has held since 2007.
The dealers also got news about plans for a nine-speed automatic transmission for front-drive vehicles, which would follow an eight-speed automatic transmission for rear-drive vehicles due out in 2012.
Both will be adaptable to all-wheel-drive and hybrid applications, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told dealers in an hour-long address Tuesday. He did not say when the nine-speed automatic would arrive.
There was no word out of the meeting on a plan for the Jeep pickup. Jeep's last pickup was the Comanche, built for the 1992 model year. Jeep last toyed with the idea of a pickup in 2005, when it unveiled an extended-cab Jeep Gladiator concept at the Detroit auto show and said it was going to study its market potential.
According to one person who attended the dealer meeting, the 2012 Viper concept resembled the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione with a Viper face. The Competizione is a limited-edition supercar that was sold in select Maserati dealerships in North America.