Jeep Panda? This Is Supposed to Save Chrysler?

Alfa Romeo 149: The new Dodge Journey?

Alfa Romeo 149: The new Dodge Journey?

Chrysler’s new bosses in Italy are cooking up some new models to bring to the States, and most of them look pretty dang cool.

We all know the Fiat 500 will come to America in 2011, and now the folks at Fiat have announced that their C-EVO platform will underpin new Chrysler models, including the Dodge Journey, Dodge Caliber, Chrysler Sebring, and Jeep Liberty.

This is exciting news for Chrysler, because the C-EVO platform is used in an upcoming Alfa Romeo SUV in addition to Alfa’s 149 and the Fiat Bravo. After some Chrysler sheet metal is welded onto these babies and they’re renamed Caliber, Sebring, and Journey, Americans just may buy them. (We’d buy more of them, though, if Fiat just dropped the Chrysler name completely and sold ’em as Fiats and Alfas. Feel free to argue, but if a dealer had an Alfa Romeo version next to an otherwise identical Chrysler, people would buy the Alfa all day long.)

Regardless, I foresee a lot of excitement on the pavement at Chrysler dealers as these new models eventually arrive. I’m especially excited about a possible new Dodge Hornet, which could be based on Alfa Romeo’s super-cool MiTo.

All that excitement, though, will abruptly run into a horrible wall called the Jeep Panda. When people see that on the lot, they’ll turn and run while screaming in disgust about what the Italians have done to Jeep.

2009_fiat_panda1Just look at the Fiat Panda. It doesn’t exactly say “Trail Rated” to me. Maybe once it has Jeep’s signature grill and an “Only in a Jeep” bumper sticker I’ll change my mind.

Right. This thing makes the paltry Patriot look like a Land Rover in comparison.

Would you rather buy a Fiat-badged car or a Chrysler-badged car, assuming they were otherwise identical?


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