by Patrick Rall
There have been a variety of rumors about what will replace the stale and slow-selling Dodge Caliber, but we insiders have suggested that the new Dodge model will meet its formal debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show next January. Chrysler has offered no real information about what is coming to replace the Caliber, including whether or not it will still wear the Caliber name, but rumors suggest that the new model will be based on Fiat’s C-Evo platform, which currently provides the basis for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Lately, multiple sources have caught images of a black Alfa Romeo 5-door
hatchback wearing the sloppy temporary masking material. I’ve
personally seen a few of these Giuliettas-in-disguise over the past few
weeks. This leaves no question as to the whether or not Chrysler is
developing an Alfa-based model for one of their American brands.
Also, based on some subtle insider information, the Caliber replacement will
bear a striking resemblance to the Giulietta shy of some minor dimension
alterations similar to what the Fiat 500 went through in making the
transition from Europe to North America. The sporty little 500 sold on
US soil may appear to be the same as the car sold in Europe but for the
American market, the 500 saw interior dimensions increased enough to
make it more pleasant for North America – without having to vastly
change the car from the European models.
An interesting new rumor is that the Alfa Romeo based Caliber
replacement is testing in Giulietta hatchback form, but because the
American market is keener to 4-door than 5-door models, the Caliber
replacement could be a sedan when it meets the world. It is true that
compact 5-door models are far more popular overseas than in the US, but a
car similar to the Caliber in sedan form would seem to tread relatively
closely to the current segment occupied by the Dodge Avenger. The
Avenger is a D-segment vehicle and the Caliber replacement would be a
C-segment car that would be aimed at the likes of the Ford Focus and
Chevy Cruze, but Dodge would have their work cut out to make sure to
differentiate the new model from the Avenger.
The next rumor suggests that this Caliber replacement could reach the 40
miles per gallon mark – allowing it to go head to head with the Cruze
and Focus. Fiat will receive another 5% ownership of the Chrysler Group
from the American government when they send a new Chrysler product
yielding 40mpg with Fiat technology, and all along, many have expected to
see some sort of rebadged Fiat 500 wearing a Dodge or Chrysler badge to
fulfill this requirement. Now, it seems that the new C-segment sedan
set to replace the Dodge Caliber could use the Alfa Romeo drivetrain and
technology to be the car that puts Dodge and the Chrysler Group into
the world of the 40mpg vehicles.
With the Caliber replacement set to make its grand debut in about 5
months, we should expect more information from the Chrysler Group over
the next few months.
What would you like to see in the Caliber replacement? Voice your opinion here!