The first “Yankee” Fiat has officially arrived: big, spacious, with a competitive price and that retrò feeling that makes it so American. The Freemont is here to stay and with its unique style will take the place of three different vehicles in the Fiat range - Chroma, Multipla and Ulysse - considered maybe a little too old for the job.
A crossover between a SUV and a mini van, Fiat Freemont can be regarded as Dodge Journey’s little baby. In fact, the reason why the Freemont is so aesthetically similar to the Dodge is that Fiat planned to sell an average of 30,000 units in Europe before the end of 2011, and simply they didn’t have enough time to develop a new design. But despite the two vehicles being almost identical in shape, it’s the technical details that make the real difference.
Fiat Freemont ads might have only just started airing in Italy (above the commercial), but the brand new model for Italians borrowed from the Chrysler line-up has already registered some sales success. After the first “open door” dealership event for the Freemont last weekend, 3,000 orders for the model have already been collected.
We’re not at all surprised given what a solid offering the Dodge Journey, now Fiat-badged Freemont, is. With a few interior upgrades, the large MPV is totally new for Fiat, filling a segment that was previously unavailable. According to Fiat, the 3,000 orders (out of nearly 6,000 test drives) have been made on the strength of the seven-seat comfort, flexibility and space of the Freemont.
We think that the price is probably definitely part of the appeal, too. Fiat has managed to offer the Freemont at a starting price of 25,700 euros, getting up to 27,200 euros in the Urban package offering. An extra 1,500 euros gets you an upgrade from Freemont standard to Urban kit, and from 140 hp to 170 hp.
In a stroke of lovely irony for us, the Dodge Journey with its American feel, in becoming the Fiat Freemont, has been adopted by the Italians as the official car of the national Azzurri football team, and will be used as transport for dignitaries and politicians as part of the Republic Day festivities today. Who would have thought it would be so embraced? We had visions of many an Italian family off to the seaside in the Freemont, but we hadn’t expected football stars and politicians.
This first Fiat Freemont video seems to have no real brand message other than to introduce the new family crossover/MPV to the Italian and European public. We get up close and personal to all the details and conclude that the Fiat-Chrysler deal does look to be in favour of the former in terms of product.
Fiat has got itself a brand new, large family vehicle which was glaringly absent from the line-up previously. What’s more, it’s not a bad looking number being a Dodge Journey with a few Fiat logos applied, and some new technology in the cabin. Everytime I see my neighbour’s Ford Galaxy parked out the front, I think just how well this Fiat Freemont instead could work for Italian families.
It comes available in two packages - the Freemont and Urban - with prices starting from 25,700 euros. The two diesel engine options have been a smart choice, too, with the four-cylinder, two-litre Multijet II available in 140 and 170 hp. I get the impression that if the marketing campaign is handled correctly (meaning more exciting videos than the above), this could be a competitive large MPV model in Europe. Let’s see what summer and beyond brings.
The Fiat Freemont is on sale already as orders are being taken in Italy before the model is presented in showrooms on May 28 and 29. The Freemont will be available in two versions: Freemont and Urban, and will have two engine options with the 2.0 diesel Multijet II offered in powersteps of 140 and 170 hp. Both have 350 Nm of torque.
The Fiat Freemont price starts at €25,700, with the standard model already including plenty of options: three-zone air conditioning, CD and MP3 radio with steering wheel controls, touch screen, 17-inch wheels, fog lights, cruise control, tyre pressure sensor and keyless entry. The Urban package adds to all that Bluetooth technology, light sensors, leather steering wheel and gearstick, rear parking sensors, roof racks, electronic seats and mirrors and tinted rear windows.
The Freemont Urban package costs another 1,500 euros on the standard model, as does the difference between the two engine options. The Urban model will be launched at a special price of €24,900 including leather interior and heated seats - showing just how competitive Fiat wants to be with its first, large SUV/MPV. Meanwhile the Freemont configurator is online to explore additional options and colour schemes. More after the jump.
Fiat plans that it’s new Dodge Journey-based Fiat Freemont will sell 40,000 models annually in Europe. The target is to sell 20,000 models in Italy alone and the same across the other European markets. The Freemont will have a starting price of about €25,000.
The figures are ambitious but not necessarily impossible to reach. The Fiat Croma, which had a brief and not particularly illustrious career, managed to sell 65,000 models in a year. What’s more, the Freemont will be sold in a different commercial context. It will be the Italian company’s first large MPV, based on a solid vehicle that while American, won’t be unpleasing to the European public.
Fiat sales and marketing boss Andrea Formica confirmed the targets and has also previously stated in an interview: “We’re not trying to hide its [the Freemont’s] American origins, nor do we want to highlight them as a marketing instrument.” The Freemont is not a particularly original model, but then many Fiats aren’t and the company has built its image as an economical, family friendly brand in its local market.
As the Fiat 500 embarks on US shores, news is that Alfa Romeo production in Mexico will start in June. It could be important information - announcing that the Alfa Romeo brand will be ready to return to the US car market in 2012. The news comes as Sergio Marchionne made a visit to the Chrysler Toluca plant. The factory has a production capacity of 120,000 vehicles: 50,000 of which are destined for the North American and Canadian markets. The number of workers employed there is about 2,714.
The US Fiat 500 is being produced in Toluca, as is the Dodge Journey. The Journey-based Fiat Freemont coming to Europe will also be produced there and it seems that room could be made for Alfa Romeo models coming to the US. Whatever happens, the additional production space will be needed if Fiat is to get anywhere near its ambitious targets for 2011. Marchionne intends to produce two million vehicles this year which is an increase of 32 percent.
Source | Autoblog.it
A surprise at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show came in the form of the Fiat 500 Coupé Zagato, as well as other 500 variants and the newly rebadged Fiat Freemont. The latter doesn’t need much introduction and the only real changes to be noted are the introduction of Multijet engines and a revisited interior designed to increase the Freemont’s European appeal. More speculation about whether this Fiat-badged Dodge will now be successful in the local market will ensue.
Meanwhile live at the Geneva show is the Fiat 500 Zagato. It’s a 1960’s-inspired model based on Abarth architecture and features a double humped roof. It is equipped with the twin-cylinder, TwinAir engine offered in a new version of 105 hp and 155 Nm of torque that will soon appear on other Fiat models in the future.
The Italian company also presented the new Fiat 500 Gucci - yet another trendy version of the highly popular citycar which attempts to unite Italy’s historic automobile company with one of its fashion icons. It’s offered purely in black and white, with exclusive Gucci accessories and interior finishes. It will be on internet sale from April 1st until June 30 for a price of about 17,000 euros (Italian market).
The Fiat Freemont - the Fiat-badged Dodge Journey for the European market - will be presented at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and these preview pics show the Freemont interior. The new model is exactly what they say it is - a rebadged Journey, and so there are plenty of points in common. It marks the first Fiat-badged Chrysler model to market since the Fiat-Chrysler deal and could prove to be a hefty competitor in the large MPV segment.
Also described as an SUV/crossover, the Fiat Freemont is an over-sized model and biggest passenger vehicle for the brand. It measures 4.89 metres long, 1.88 wide and 1.72 high, with a wheel base of 2.89 metres and a boot capacity of 1,461 litres. At launch time it will be available in just versions: a 2.0-litre Multijet with 140 or 170 hp and manual transmission. Following this first model, all-wheel drive will be introduced, as will the V6 Pentastar engine with 276 hp. We expect to see a few Italian families heading to the seaside in the Freemont this coming summer, when it will be available in Europe.
We’ll have to get used to seeing the Dodge Journey sporting a Fiat badge in Europe, but the hefty Fiat Freemont as it will be called, doesn’t look bad at all. The model will debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March, and will hit the market in the second half of this year. Assembly operations have been assigned to the Mexican plant, Toluca, so it will mark an import model for Fiat in Europe - designed in the US and built in central America.
The Fiat-Chrysler effort should help to expand the Fiat model line-up significantly. Generally speaking it’s a modest range, focusing on smaller cars, but if they can make this affordable enough, the Fiat Freemont will mark the entry of a large SUV/crossover model, which could prove popular with Italians, if not with other European nations. The Freemont measures 4.89 metres, 1.88 m wide and 1.72 tall, with a wheelbase of 2.89 metres. It offers seven seats, in three rows, where the last row can make way for more boot space. The second row features a “child Booster” seat for children. The rear boot capacity can reach a maximum of 1,461 litres.
There’s not much to be noted in terms of new design features. Obviously the Fiat badge at the front takes the place of that of Dodge, and the front bumpers have been modified to match a more Fiat-like nose. The rear gets LED lights, now standard in most modern vehicles. No pictures of the interior of the Freemont are available yet, but we understand there will be new materials used, chrome finishes, new instrumentation and a multimedia system mounted in the central console.
The new Dodge Journey crossover is apparently headed to Europe under the Fiat badge and with a new name. The Fiat Freemont (too many F’s!), as it will then be known, will be the first Chrysler model with a Fiat engine - a diesel to replace the current Volkswagen diesel unit. The engine gets a power boost in the process, up 30 hp to 170, compared to the current powertrain.
The new Dodge Journey model was recently displayed at the November Los Angeles auto show and shows some exterior restyling, modified suspension and a revamped interior. Much of this probably didn’t take place with Europe in mind, but the Journey should form a significant part of the Fiat-Chrysler plans to rebadge models, providing more varied ranges but cutting development costs and investments in the process.
While the Dodge Journey doesn’t exactly have a mega sales record to boast of, it’s certainly a lot better than the mere 1,956 sales of the Fiat Ulysse minivan it will replace. Fiat plans that the Freemont model will have better chances than the original Journey in Europe due to an all-wheel drive option and access to the broad Fiat dealership network. According to the reports, the Fiat Freemont will be presented at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.