DETROIT -- As soon as Chrysler Group dealers stock up on vehicles of the shortened 2011 model year, they'll have to start getting ready for the 2012 models.
The truncated 2011 model year is a result of Chrysler's efforts to reinvigorate its lineup after its 2009 bankruptcy. The company introduced 16 new or revamped models for 2011 after a frantic 18-month engineering push.
Most of them did not arrive in dealerships until the first quarter, almost half a year later than normal. And some dealers report they still haven't received their first 2011 Chrysler 300s, the last of the 16 models to go into production. Dealers can start ordering 2012 models in late May or early June, according to Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel.
"We will be back to a traditional model-year launch with our 2012s. Most of our 2012s go into production during the month of July," Kisiel said.
Bill Golling, owner of Golling Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., says, "That means there are only one or two allocations left before the buildout. I'm confident they'll have an orderly buildout for the 2011s and startup of the '12s."
After the 2011 offensive, Chrysler plans few major changes for the 2012 model year. For instance, the Jeep Wrangler is scheduled to get Chrysler's Pentastar V-6 engine.
A compact sedan based on Fiat's Compact U.S. Wide platform, known as the CUSW, will go on sale in early 2012, replacing the Dodge Caliber. The 2012 model year could be the last for a number of products.
Chrysler also is working on a Fiat-based replacement for the mid-sized Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 sedans. Chrysler's Nov. 4, 2009, product plan shows those cars arriving in 2013.