Fiat never managed to sell many cars in the U.S. when it was competing with The Big Three and the Japanese makers, and in 1981 it pulled out of the American market altogether. That makes Chrysler's decision to use Fiat models to pull itself out of one of the worst sales slumps in its history all the more puzzling. Chrysler's sales have been down more than other car companies operating in the domestic market. In many months, Chrysler sales have been off over 40 percent this year compared to 2008.
An exclusive report in The Wall Street Journal says that Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, will begin to import Fiat models, modified for the U.S. market, in 2012. In the meantime, according to the paper, "Chrysler is preparing to phase out many current models, including a number of Dodge cars, the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and several Jeeps."