In April, Fiat rolled out its latest strategy for the revival of the Chrysler Group and loosely outlined the products the automaker is expected to roll out over the next several years both in Europe and the U.S. One interesting tidbit in the presentation was the announcement of a new seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) being developed for the U.S. market that is slated to roll into showrooms sometime in calendar year 2012.
The new MPV, which will reportedly be built on the Fiat Group C-compact platform, and is said to be being positioned to do battle with the Mazda5 and Ford's coming Grand C-Max. While it's conceivable that the vehicle could be badged as both a Chrysler and a Dodge, a Dodge-branded vehicle makes more sense -- especially when considering the recent news that Fiat plans to fuse Chrysler and Lancia at the hip.
A Dodge MPV would also mean that Fiat could arguably take a more expressive approach to the vehicle. It's no secret that the Journey and Grand Caravan aren't exactly reflective of where Fiat wants to take Dodge, and a sport-themed MPV along the lines of what is depicted above could be just the ticket to help transition the brand away from its bland people-mover offerings.
It would also allow Dodge to go after younger buyers looking for a vehicle with a blend of practicality and efficiency on top of a sporty character. Any U.S.-market MPV would have to have flexible packaging and offer room for bicycles, snowboards and the like. We'd expect any small MPV to be powered by one of Fiat's efficient MultiAir engines. Of course at this point it's hard to say which brand will actually get the vehicle outlined in the plan, but the addition of the coming MPV to the Dodge stable certainly makes sense. We'll know more over the next year as the Fiat plan begins to take shape.