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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Chrysler sedan, Alfa share base

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Chrysler sedan, Alfa share base

2013 Dodge also to use the same platform

BY GREG GARDNER

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Chrysler's chief designer and president of its Dodge brand said Wednesday that the 2011 Alfa Romeo Giulia, which goes on sale in Europe next year, will share its underlying structure with such future Chrysler and Dodge models as the redesigned midsize sedans slated to reach showrooms in 2013.

"I'm probably not supposed to show you some of these pictures, but ... ," said Dodge brand CEO Ralph Gilles during a speech to a spring business expo sponsored by the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce. He went on to talk about a slide showing the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which Fiat designed from what it calls the C-EVO platform.

Later this year, Chrysler plans to begin making freshened versions of the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger at the Sterling Heights assembly plant. Sources familiar with the process previously told the Free Press that Chrysler's new midsize sedan will be named the Nassau.

"They may look a little similar (to the current models) on the outside, but believe me, they are completely new cars," Gilles said.

Confident that the changes will translate to better sales, Chrysler bought the Sterling Heights plant for $20 million from the bankruptcy estate of the old Chrysler and committed to produce the models through the end of 2012. Previously, Chrysler had planned to close the Sterling Heights plant at the end of 2010. It employs about 1,200 workers.

Chrysler is studying several locations for production of the all-new midsize cars coming in 2013. Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool said Wednesday the city would do everything it could to make sure Chrysler continues production at the current plant well beyond 2012.

Separately, Chrysler said it would honor former CEO Lee Iacocca, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, Jay Leno and the late Virgil Exner, Chrysler's first vice president of styling, as the initial recipients of the Walter P. Chrysler Legacy Award. The awards are to be presented July 24 at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100520/BUSINESS01/5200533/1331/BUSINESS01/Chrysler-sedan-Alfa-share-base

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