For Fiat fans with bam­bini

Think of it as the spawn of an Ital­ian-amer­i­can love af­fair

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

devel­op­ment deals be­tween Fiat and Chrysler.

It comes to Aus­tralia with a start­ing price of $27,000 drive­away, as well as smaller en­gines and a five-seater cabin — with seven on call— that pro­vides clear space around the Jour­ney peo­ple mover and a new op­por­tu­nity for Fiat.

The Ital­ian brand claims the Fre­mont is the most fuel ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cle in its peo­ple mover class, via the 2.0-litre tur­bod­iesel (from $32,600).

The Fre­mont is a mid-sized peo­ple mover with a flex­i­ble cabin that brings five seats and up to 1461 litres of cargo space — third-row seat­ing costs $1500 — with Base, Ur­ban and Lounge trim lev­els but even the starter car get­ting re­mote cen­tral lock­ing, 17-inch al­loys, air­con and power steer­ing, rear park­ing radar, tyre-pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing and a 4.3-inch touch screen for an in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in­clud­ing Blue­tooth au­dio stream­ing. There’s a lot of value. And there are a lot of trim lev­els, com­pared to the Dodge,’’ says Fiat Chrysler Group Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Clyde Camp­bell Camp­bell.

Still, the Fre­mont is not the most imag­i­na­tive model spawned by the Fiat-Chrysler Al­liance, with Maserati set to tap the Jeep well for its up­com­ing SUV and also pick­ing up parts from the 300C, but it shows the new think­ing.

This is the start of our new prod­uct of­fen­sive. You have to start some­where,’’ Camp­bell says. This was read­ily avail­able and we thought we should give it a go.’’

Camp­bell says a lot’s hap­pen­ing at the Ital­ianAmer­i­can con­glom­er­ate.

The think­ing be­hind the Fiat-Chrysler al­liance, which has be­come more than an al­liance now, is that they can share from what each other does well,’’ he says. We’ll see it in mul­ti­ple plat­forms. Fiat is good at small en­gines, so the Fre­mont gets launched here with a four-cylin­der petrol and a good lit­tle diesel en­gine. Dodge and what Dodge stands for is prob­a­bly not a 2.0-litre petrol.’’

But it’s the plan­ning around the Fre­mont that shows where Fiat-Chrysler is go­ing.

Chrysler build it and ship it. But they fit it with the Ital­ian en­gines,’’ Camp­bell says.

And he says there is much more ac­tion planned for 2013.

We’ve got other Fiat prod­uct coming this year. We’re go­ing to re­launch the Punto and launch the Panda. We’ve al­ready re-po­si­tioned Fiat and Alfa with lower prices and more models. Now it’s the prod­uct.’’

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