By Patrick Rall
The Dodge Journey is the fourth most popular vehicle in the
United States, moving over 18,000 units through the first three months of 2012
and the sporty crossover is seeing similar success in Europe – where it is sold
as the Fiat Freemont. During the first
quarter of 2012, Fiat has sold 6,498 Freemonts and while that is much lower
than the number of Journeys sold in the US, the company is on pace to hit the
sales projection of 30,000 units for the year.
The Chrysler Group has rebadged three vehicles originally
intended for the North American market with the Chrysler 300 and the Chrysler
Town & Country joining the Dodge Journey in Europe under other names. The 300 sedan is known as the Lancia Thema
oversees while the Chrysler minivan is called the Lancia Grand Voyager. Unfortunately for Lancia, the Thema and Grand Voyager are
not doing as well as the Fiat Freemont due to a variety of reasons.
The main reason hurting the Thema and Grand
Voyager are the high prices, with the pair of converted Chrysler products both
being marketed as expensive luxury models (both around 40,000 Euros/$51,000
USD) while the Fiat Freemont starts around 23,900 Euros ($30,400 USD). When you combine these high prices with the
economy crunch in Europe right now – which has had a massive impact on the
Italian auto market that makes up most of Lancia’s business – it is no surprise
that these high end models aren’t selling well.
However, for the Dodge Journey turned Fiat Freemont, things
are going very well as customers around Europe are quick to snatch up the
sporty, versatile crossover utility vehicle.