By Mark Kleis
Thursday, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:39 am
 
Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram production start dates have found their way onto the Internet far ahead of their planned releases. Among the tidbits of information leaked are confirmations of name changes, and contradictions to past information concerning the order of new model releases.



Most of the "leaks" that recently worked their way onto the internet before the start of the Geneva Motor Show were likely more akin to backdoor releases than actual leaks. But when it comes to production schedules, that type of information is generally kept fairly tight to the chest in order to avoid potentially damaging sales numbers for current models.

Luckily for those on the fence who are considering either taking advantage of the deep discounts currently offered by Chrysler or waiting for new products, Accelerate Mpls has done the dirty work and exposed the complete production start list that was hiding in plain site on Allpar. The list and the commentary following it give insight into the coming changes to the Chrysler lineup - and even gives hints towards some name changes to existing Chrysler products.

First up for production will be the 2010 Viper - set to resume production in just a few weeks on March 29, 2010. The Viper started a production halt in July, and will return two years earlier than previously indicated. Some reports suggested that the world would be without a Dodge Viper until the Ferrari influenced Viper returned in 2012, but according to this schedule, the Dodge will live on before its transformation.

Next up will be the chassis cab Ram pickups on April 5, which will be 2011 model year vehicles along with every other model on the list - save for the Viper. According to the source that provided the information, "Dodge is currently working on a plan that would make the Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs available to all Ram dealers." This shift would help to increase fleet sales and may help Chrysler to inflates sales numbers beyond barely neutral.

After the chassis cab trucks will come the 2011 Grand Cherokee - beginning production on May 10. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be an all-new model and will feature the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Two months after Jeep launches a crucial new SUV, Ram will start production of the 1500 and 2500 models on July 5 at one plant, and then July 26 for the second plant.

Later in July, the 26th to be exact, Chrysler is looking to have a busy day when they begin production for the 2011 Caliber, Dakota, Liberty and Nitro. Although most of those models are expected to essentially just be carried over from 2010, there are rumors suggesting the 2011 Dakota could possibly begin its new life as a unibody pickup. Earlier reports suggested the transition would take place in 2011, which is still possible, but a 2010 introduction isn't completely out of the question.

Another model surrounded by speculation is the 2011 Jeep Wrangler on August 16th. The Wrangler has obviously remained mostly unchanged during its storied history, but some suggestions place a new Pentastar V6 - which we find to be very likely - and the addition of minor aerodynamic tweaks as well as technological upgrades in order to keep the Wrangler modern. Another possibility is that the Wrangler will remain virtually unchanged, aside from its new more powerful and more efficient V6.

The Jeep Patriot is set to enter production on October 4. The Patriot, along with the PT Cruiser, Dodge Nitro, Jeep Compass and Chrysler Sebring, is set to go away in 2012 - so don't expect big changes.

One interesting production date to note is November 8, where a "Dodge CUV" is set to begin production. The CUV is believed to either be a Durango replacement, or potentially the return of a Magnum model. Allpar suggests that the "Dodge CUV" may likely be a stretched and tweaked Grand Cherokee with an upward sloping roofline, as opposed to the downward sloping Cherokee's roofline.

On November 16, production will begin for the Journey and Ram 1500 hybrid. The Journey is due for a refresh inside and out, and expect a new engine as well. Just two days later in November, refreshed versions of the Avenger and Sebring are set to begin production on the 18th, but there is a possibility that the Sebring will be known as the 200C. Just days later, the minivans will begin production on the 22nd. A week after Chrysler begins producing its 2011 minivans, it will start production on the key new 2011 Charger - as well as the Challenger and 300.

The 2011 Charger will be a drastic departure from current styling, expected to bring classic lines like that of the 1968 models back to Dodge showrooms. The 300C will get some tweaks to the body lines and improvements to aerodynamics, but will fall short of a totally fresh design. The Challenger is expected to get a major overhaul, and should receive a beefed up new 6.4-liter Hemi V8.

Closing out the production dates for 2010 will be the Jeep Compass and Fiat 500 - both set for December 13 start dates. The Fiat 500 will mark the first Fiat-badged vehicle to enter the U.S. sales mix as a result of the Fiat-Chrysler merger.

References
1. 'Leaked Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge...' view
2. 'Upcoming Chryslers, Dodges...' view
3. '2011 Keep Wrangler...' view