The fat trimming is apparently continuing at Chrysler. In three years, expect the Jeep Liberty and its closely related sibling, the Dodge Nitro, to merge into one model, according to Steven Landry, Chrysler's vice president of North American sales. Landry made his comments to The Toledo Blade.
Landry's pronouncement doesn't come as much of a surprise considering Chrysler's ongoing attempts to cut overlapping models from the automaker's three brands. Chrysler's Jim Press has already announced his goal to eliminate 11 SUVs from the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep lineups. In May, we learned that Chrysler had canceled its plan to badge-engineer a Dodge Journey for the Chrysler brand, instead funneling more money to development of smaller cars and, most likely, pay Nissan to help with the Sebring/Avenger replacement.
Vehicles already slated to be eliminated, including the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, and Dodge Magnum, will also certainly help focus Chrysler engineering resources (and cash).
Despite the impending axe that will reportedly fall on one of the vehicles, Landry says the sales of the Liberty and Dodge Nitro together are meeting company goals for that segment. Year-to-date sales through August show the Jeep Liberty at 49,330 and the Dodge Nitro at 27,540. The Nitro is faring far worse overall, with a reported 194-day supply, The Blade reports. Our bet's on the Nitro being the vehicle to pass into automotive history, especially with Chrysler reportedly moving away from the boxy, angular design look.
Chrysler hopes to merge the two SUVs into one by 2012.
Source: The Blade
By Zack Gale