Chrysler at the N.A.I.A.S.

By Nauman Farooq

Last year, Chrysler made the type of headlines no car company ever wants to make.

Jeep Liberty

Jeep Liberty

First there was news of over spending by their executives, right at the time when the company was applying for bailout money.

Cash strapped, they decided to completely dismantle their EV program for electric and hybrid cars, which got them even more bad press.

Then they almost got bankrupted out of existence. But in a move that surprised almost everybody, Italian car giant Fiat took controlling share of Chrysler and kept it alive.

Chrysler is now hoping that 2010 will be a better year for them, but they didn’t really show much hope judging by their display at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.

Actually appearance wise the display was very well done. Parent company Fiat pulled out all the stops and spent huge amounts of money creating a very unique, bright and interesting display. There were cars on turn tables, there were cars on the floor, and then they had a Ram pick-up truck on the ceiling. That’s very cool.

What they didn’t have was any press conference. They decided that it would be best to avoid questions by journalists, and to create a diversion they had hired the most beautiful women you can possibly imagine, to adorn their displays. Most journalists didn’t complain about this aspect at all.

What journalists did complain about was the total lack of information on the sexy European in one corner. No, not the gorgeous model, but the rebadged Lancia Delta. Chrysler took the badges off the Euro-hatch and glued on some of their own. But, they forgot to give it a name so when journalists asked what to call this car by, Chrysler staff simply smiled and said nothing.

It is a shame to see Chrysler and its subsidiary brands like Jeep and Dodge in such a poor state, because in the past they had made some truly astonishing cars. Cars like the original Charger Daytona and the Hemi Challenger are forever enthusiast favorites.

However, there is one car in their portfolio that still makes people’s heart beat a lot faster, the Dodge Viper.

The Viper is proof that when the Americans put their heads together, the result is truly spectacular.

Despite showing the latest version of the Viper, the track day special named the ACR-X, it was also announced that sadly this will be the last year for the Viper, and no replacement is on the cards yet.

However, it seems like some pint size fun machines would soon be available in North America. At the fulcrum point of Chrysler’s display, there were two Fiat 500 hatchbacks.

This is currently the hottest car in Europe, and many enthusiasts in North America have been praying to one day have this car on our shores. It looks like their prayers are finally going to be answered.

Whether they decide to sell Fiat’s out of Chrysler dealerships remains to be seen, but a car like the Fiat 500 will go a long way towards improving Chrysler’s popularity.

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