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Fiat will rebadge Dodge Journey in Europe

Mon, 27 Dec 2010

Chrysler Group will stop selling the Dodge Journey in Europe and will instead market the crossover with a Fiat badge, Fiat sources said.

The Fiat version of the Journey will be called the Freemont, the sources said.

The Freemont is a key part of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to cut development costs and boost capacity utilization at the automakers' factories by cross selling vehicles from Fiat group and Chrysler group brands.

The Freemont will be a rebadged version of the revamped Dodge Journey unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show in November. The Journey was given minor exterior design changes, a revised interior and a modified suspension.

Fiat will debut the Freemont at the Geneva auto show in March and launch European sales in June.

Chrysler launched sales of the Dodge Journey in Europe in 2008. In the first 10 months, European sales of the Journey fell 20 percent to 5,792 units, according to UK-based market researchers JATO Dynamics.

The Freemont's engines will include Fiat's 170-hp 2.0-liter diesel, the first application of a Fiat engine in a Chrysler vehicle. The current European Journey has a 140-hp 2.0-liter diesel supplied by Volkswagen AG.

The Freemont will replace Fiat's slow-selling Ulysse minivan, which the carmaker stopped building this month. Last year, Fiat sold 1,956 Ulysse units.

Bigger sales potential

Fiat hopes the Freemont will have a bigger sales potential than the Ulysse because it will offer all-wheel drive, which the Ulysse doesn't have. In addition, a more powerful diesel engine than the current Journey and sales through Fiat's 5,000-strong European sales network, which is far larger than Chrysler's, could offer more sales potential.

The Freemont will be exported to Europe from Chrysler's plant in Toluca, Mexico, which builds the Dodge Journey and the Fiat 500 for North America.

By Luca Ciferri- Automotive News