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Dodge likely to be axed

Dodge remains in Australia with only one model, the Journey people mover.

The shock news comes as Fiat looks at making the Fiat Freemont a niche model in Australia after its successful launch into Europe.

In Beijing this week, Fiat's global boss Olivier Francois says the death of Dodge was "likely''. Dodge remains in Australia with only one model, the Journey people mover. 

Its clone, the Freemont,  is intended to become Fiat's second model here, but there could be a time delay as Fiat allocates time to first establish the 500 as its volume seller. But it is believed Dodge will remain a brand name in one market - the US - purely for historic reasons. Mr Francois says Freemont was a "surprise'' seller in Europe. 

The car is a seven-seat copy of the Dodge Journey - still sold in Australia - that hit the spot with European buyers because of its simplicity and functionality. But Mr Francois has made it clear that Dodge doesn't have a place in the new Fiat-Chrysler alliance. "To us, the Freemont was an opportunistic car,'' he says. 

"It was never born a Fiat and we knew it was an American product, so how could it fit into Europe? "Well we have sold 35,000 Freemonts in Europe, built in our plant in Mexico, in less than 12 months. "It is so successful that we now have to lift production.''

The Freemont could be in  Australia before the end of 2013, depending on its demand in other markets and the progress  of a roll-out of new cars based on the Fiat 500.