Fiat Takes (a) Journey

Soon, the Fiat 500 will be making its way along the autostrada of the U.S., a consequence of the strategic partnership between Fiat and Chrysler.

Soon, the Fiat 500 will be making its way along the autostrada of the U.S., a consequence of the strategic partnership between Fiat and Chrysler. Fiat owns 20% of Chrysler. When an engine based on Fiat technology is produced in the U.S. and sales targets outside North America are met, both of which are anticipated to occur this year, Fiat will gain an additional 15% of the company, then may purchase 16% more prior to an expected Chrysler IPO.

So while select Chrysler dealers will be getting a really fine small car and Chrysler Group products will be getting a clever powertrain, what does Fiat get vehicle-wise?

This:

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It’s the Fiat Freemont, which will be introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March and will go on sale in Europe in the second half of 2011.

If you squint and ignore the badge, you may think that what you saw up there is pretty much like what you’re seeing here:

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And you would be right. The Dodge Journey is the basis of the Fiat Freemont. Both are produced at the Chrysler assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico, which is also building the Fiat 500.

What you can’t see is that the Freemont is being offered with turbodiesels (140- and 170-hp engines) and a manual transmission. These aren’t available in the Journey. At least not yet. Who knows what will happen with greater Fiat integration into the Chrysler Group. . . .