Chrysler’s Fiat-Based Sedans Might Hit U.S. in 2011

AutoWeek reports that Chrysler’s Fiat-based compact cars could be coming to America sooner than anticipated. During a conference call on Monday, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the cars could potentially be on the market as early as the fourth quarter of 2011. Previous predictions had placed the cars as not being available in the United States until early 2012.

“We’ve run extensive clinics on the first vehicles. We’re 98 percent there on styling,” he said. “My expectation today is we’ll be able to get this car into the market Q4 2011. We continue to work pretty aggressively on timing.”

The Fiat-based cars would help Chrysler become competitive in an area of weakness for it in the American car market: the compact sedan. Marchionne also said that Chrysler Group is planning on addressing one of its other pressing needs before the launch of the Fiat-based compact. According to him, by the end of 2010 Chrysler plans to come out with new versions of its Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger lines.

“We have carried out significant surgery on the architecture of those cars and made significant improvements of the interiors,” he said.

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Protesters Interrupt Speech By Chrysler CEO

The Detroit Free News reports that angry protesters interrupted a speech by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne during the Automotive News World Congress dinner celebration in Detroit on Wednesday night, releasing balloons and passing out fliers critical of the company’s recent handling of labor issues.

The fliers pointed people to, which is a site that protests Fiat’s purchase of Chrysler. One protestor, who identified himself as a member of the Teamster’s strategic campaign division, said that he was protesting the company’s decision to start using nonunionized car haulers, saving the company $10 per car.

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