Maximum 25 per cent of FCA’s budget will be spent on these marques
In the lead up to Fiat Chrysler’s presentation to investors at Balocco, Italy, rumours and reports have swirled about the future of the Fiat, Dodge, and Chrysler brands.
Some going so far as to suggest to death of one, but, it turns out, they’ll all live on for now, each with a much narrower focus than before.
While the product plans for Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ram were detailed through long presentations and slide decks, the other four brands in the FCA stable were omitted from the day’s official running order and addressed only in passing, or during the question and answer session.
Sergio Marchionne dismissed speculation about the future of these marques as “nonsense” because the presentation was focussed on “global brands”.
He described Chrysler as “going to continue to be relevant in the United States”, although it will be a “people carrier brand”, hinting the 300 sedan will eventually be dropped from the range.
If so, the Pacifica people mover, introduced in 2016, will be its sole model. This model has not been adapted for the right-hand drive, indicating Chrysler’s future in Australia may be limited.
On the upside, Waymo, Google’s self-driving car arm, has ordered a further 62,000 Pacificas for its autonomous vehicle roll out. Fiat Chrysler also hopes to use the Google-developed technology on future vehicles, although no specific plans were laid out.
As for the Italian-American automaker’s other namesake brand, there we be a two-part strategy.
Marchionne stated “it would be a waste of time” to talk about Fiat ever selling in “significant volumes” in North America or the Asia-Pacific.
Instead he noted the “long history of relevance for Fiat in the Latin American market”. Given that market’s appetite for cheaper and less sophisticated cars, it’s likely Fiat will keep developing a broad range of vehicles there.
For Europe, Marchionne believes Fiat “needs to play in a more exclusive area of the market” as it is difficult to for a “mass market [brand] to be really profitable” given the “level of regulation in Europe”.
So, for European customers Fiat will be whittled down to Panda and the 500 sub-brand, and will concentrate on city cars, and electrification, including a second-generation 500e.
In statements reported by Autocar, the next-generation 500 will ride on a new platform, which will also be used by the new Panda. In addition to an electric drivetrain, the new 500 will be available with a mild-hybrid setup, and gain a Giardiniera wagon variant.
WardsAuto reported on Marchionne’s comments about Dodge continuing on as a performance brand.
Contrary to previous reports, Dodge’s rear-wheel drive vehicles will not move onto the platform used by the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. Instead, the marque will use a heavily updated version of the architecture underpinning today’s Charger and Challenger.
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