GENEVA – Chrysler Group says it is looking closely at whether to build the next-generation PT Cruiser on the upcoming C/D segment platform under joint development with Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Chrysler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche says the auto maker is in the process of determining whether the C/D platform would work for the next PT. He firmly dismisses any possibility the PT would use a unique platform.

“It has to be the objective of a manufacturer to converge the number of platforms, to diminish it, and to have as many top hats (body styles) as possible,” he tells Ward’s in an interview at the auto show here. “Therefore, a standalone PT platform is nothing desirable.”

That doesn’t mean the PT will share styling with other vehicles built on the C/D platform, which debuts with the launch of a Mitsubishi product next year. Zetsche says the next PT must maintain the unique styling and functionality that differentiates the current vehicle from its competitors.

“For the next generation of the PT it is absolutely necessary that it keeps its very unique appearance,” he says. “It has to stand out from the crowd in its proportions.

“Beyond the intentions to use common platforms, we have to assure that this is possible on a common platform (and) still come up with those very unique proportions. I think it is (possible), but we have (to define) that before we can finally decide."

Meanwhile, Zetsche denies Chrysler has plans to bring to the U.S. its diesel PT Cruiser now sold in Europe. Chrysler already has committed to selling a diesel Jeep Liberty in the U.S. later this year. He says the next future Chrysler U.S. diesel product most likely will be a truck, adding it would “not be stupid” to expect the next diesel offering to be another Jeep model.

“We are already in preparation for possible, (but) not finally decided, additions to our diesel offerings in the U.S. A car would not be the next step,” he says. “The next (vehicle) would rather be another truck, a car would be a third or fourth priority.”

kekelly@primediabusiness.com