By on August 8, 2011

According to Automotive News [sub]‘s latest breakdown of Chrysler-Fiat’s product plans, a lot has changed since the big Five Year Plan product cadence guide was released in late 2009 [PDF here]. The Chrysler brand’s C-segment offering appears to have been pushed back a year, its 2014MY B-segment car is AWOL and there’s no sign of a planned MY2014 “Midsized Crossover” or T&C. Planned MY2013 “Major Modifications” for Ram Light Duty, Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab are also nowhere in sight, although the “under consideration” MY2012 minivan-based pickup is back on, likely for MY2014. A MY2012 Challenger refresh is also off, according to these plans. And what’s taking up the slack? Alfa Romeos, and lots of them. Sergio and company didn’t mention Alfas during the seven hours of PowerPoint presentations back in late ’09, but it’s clear that his priority is on bringing Alfa’s 5-door subcompact MiTo, Giulietta compact, Giulia midsizer and Compact CUV to the US. Which means the cupboard will be largely bare over the next year, and thereafter another rush of products will launch across all six mass-market brands. Chrysler’s sales are growing at the moment, but can this plan maintain the momentum? The folks in Auburn Hills certainly hope so…

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32 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Can This Product Plan Keep Fiat-Chrysler Going?...”


  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Improve the quality of Jeep’s products, but don’t monkey with their DNA. Get rid of the abominations that are the Patriot and Compass, and don’t make any thinly-reskinned Fiats as part of that brand. Jeep has proven time and time again that it has very loyal customers and the cachet to attract more, if the quality is good and the price is right. Make the Grand Cherokee, Liberty and Wrangler as good as humanly possible and that’s all you need.

    The rest of Chrysler’s small-car lineup needs Fiat’s help, badly. It would be better if the 200 could get replaced tomorrow, but I know the limitations of the technology. As for the Viper, I will be extremely disappointed if it turns out to be nothing more than a badge-engineered Ferrari. The Viper is about as uniquely American as you can get, and it should stay that way: as big an engine as possible, with drop-dead gorgeous styling and no electronic gizmos.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Uniquely American. Chrysler is now an Italian-owned, Italian-run company. I think Fiat should maximize its exposure to Chrysler markets in any way it can, even if the Viper would be a rebadged Ferrari V12.

      What’s so surprising about all the Fiat-based products coming in 2014? That was a given. The only question that remains is where they are going to be built.

      If Fiat builds these replacements in the US they’ll have to deal with the UAW. But if they build them in Mexico or South America it may be more than enough to keep Fiat going in this hemisphere.

      Look for the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep brands to be completely phased out by 2015 and replaced by Fiat/Alfa/Ferrari/Maserati names. Only RAM will continue as is. That would be the logical thing to do.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        even if the Viper would be a rebadged Ferrari V12.

        I think Enzo would sooner gargle battery acid…

        Although, it’d be cool if they optioned the Ram 2500 with either the Cummins Diesel or the Ferrari V8 – with the dual clutch. A side by side comparo in Big Trucks dot com would be an epic read.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Enzo didn’t care about the road cars.

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        If Sergio does that, sales in the US/Canada will go from 1 million plus units to about 150,000, and that is only if the the new FIAT B and C platform win every magazine comparo in their class, including Consumer Reports. Logical? I think not. Even the most cynical would not envision the Jeep brand being sunsetted.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        If you think that getting rid of the Chrysler brand names is logical than you’re crazy. But given your absolute fixation with producing cars in Mexico, perhaps I should have guessed that already. I get that people don’t like the UAW, but your preponderance to mention Mexican production in every single post borders on a mania.

        Whatever damage has been done, the Chrysler nameplates (Jeep in particular) have far, far more cachet and brand recognition with the American public than any of Fiat’s labels. Very few have even heard of Fiat yet, and basically anyone who’s not a car enthusiast has no idea what an Alfa Romeo is. Ferrari can continue on as the obvious ultra-performance, ultra-luxury brand, but Maserati just needs to disappear already. It long ago stopped selling anything that wasn’t an overpriced 7-series or Jag clone.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I have no affection for Mexico or Fiat but EVERY manufacturer who has started to produce in Mexico has realized major improvements in quality while at the same time seeing a drastic cut in operating expense and a marked improvement in profits. It’s good business to produce in Mexico.

        So what’s not to like about assembly in Mexico? The name of the game is to make money for the shareholders. Assembling in Mexico was good enough for Ford, and for GM and for Dodge, and it is good enough for Mazda now, so what’s your malfeasance here? Are you against auto makers making money? GM makes money on stuff made in South Korea.

        I remember when Jeep belonged to AMC, and it was a damn better product way back then as opposed to what it is now. I still see many Pioneers running around and AMC Eagles which were all based on the Jeep rolling stock. Hardy vehicles, great in snow. Ahead of their time.

        “Very few have even heard of Fiat”? Yeah, in the US maybe. Fiat bombed in the US in the 80s. Rust buckets that leaked oil coming and going. Made mechanics ROTFL and see dollar signs. Ever hear of the 128? How about the X/19? But Fiat is a much more widely known brand all over the world than Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep is (or ever will be).

        If you had ever left Appalachia and spent some time overseas you would have seen Fiat knock-offs produced in many countries, even the old USSR member states, and Spain and even (GASP!) China and India. All duly licensed and sanctioned by Fiat. They were all POS, just like the originals. When you copy something bad, the copy is also bad.

        Try to sell a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep nameplate outside the US or Canada and people ask “whahizzit?” Slap a Fiat moniker on it and people at least know what it is, even if it is rebadged manure.

        The French had a Chrysler/Simca venture going for awhile but they didn’t call them Chryslers, they called them Simca, and they were still a POS. I owned a 1969 1100. Gawd almighty, what trash!?

        If you read the Fiat product plan, you will find that everything in the future is Fiat-based, not Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep-based. That should give you a clue that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep is being dropped for Fiat monikers and Fiat-derived designs.

        RAM is different because its markets are the NAFTA countries and the countries that receive foreign-aid from the US in the form of unsold pickup trucks (Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, etc for law enforcement use and target practice). You don’t see many RAM trucks anywhere else.

        So please, I’m not a Fiat fan but I can see the logic behind what Fiat is doing and I can predict with certainty that Fiat is going to peddle a lot of cars here and abroad, even if they are rebadged Chrysler products. And why shouldn’t they? FIAT OWNS CHRYSLER! FIAT RUNS CHRYSLER! FIAT DECIDES WHAT CHRYSLER WILL PRODUCE!

        Chrysler does not tell Fiat doodly squat. It’s way past time that Chrysler fans suck it up and deal with it, ’cause that’s the way it is going to be. Read the product plan, man.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I have no affection for Mexico or Fiat but EVERY manufacturer who has started to produce in Mexico has realized major improvements in quality

        Some JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey rankings for various cars built in Mexico (survey ranges from 2-5 stars — JD Power does not give one-star rankings)

        -Chevrolet Aveo: 2 stars
        -Chevrolet Avalanche: 2 stars
        -Chevrolet HHR: 2 stars
        -PT Cruiser: 3 stars
        -Nissan Sentra: 3 stars
        -VW Beetle: 2 stars
        -VW Jetta: 3 stars

        Wow. That’s just fantastic, isn’t it?

        Here’s a list of all of the 5-star cars in the ranking, along with their assembly location:

        Acura RL – Japan
        BMW X3 – South Carolina
        Buick Lacrosse – Kansas
        Buick Lucerne – Michigan
        Cadillac DTS – Michigan
        Chevy Tahoe + GMC Yukon – Texas
        Ford Edge – Canada
        Ford F-150 – Michigan, Missouri
        Ford Fusion – Mexico
        Ford Mustang – Michigan
        Ford Taurus – Illinois
        Honda CR-V – Ohio
        Honda Fit – Japan
        Hyundai Accent – South Korea
        Hyundai Elantra – Alabama
        Hyundai Santa Fe – Georgia
        Lexus GX – Japan
        Lexus RX – Canada
        Lincoln MKZ – Mexico
        Lincoln Navigator – Kentucky
        Mazda Miata – Japan
        Mercedes CLK – Germany/ Mexico
        Scion xB – Japan
        Subaru Forester – Japan
        Toyota 4Runner – Japan
        Toyota Highlander – Japan at that time, later models in Indiana
        Toyota Prius – Japan
        Toyota Sienna – Indiana
        Toyota Tacoma – Mexico
        Toyota Tundra – Texas
        Toyota Yaris – Japan

        You must forgive me for noticing that Mexico isn’t exactly leaping off of this list, while various US states are showing up quite often.

        http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/dependability-ratings-by-category/

        As we can see, Mexico is capable of producing its share of low ranked cars, and not many great ones. So at this point, it might be time to give the Mexico shtick a rest.

        It might be even more valuable to realize that the nation in which the vehicle is assembled has little to do with the final result. A badly designed car with second-rate parts is going to be a failure, no matter who builds it or where it’s built. Individual workers have very little to do with product quality on an assembly line.

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        You seem to have something against Italians. I don’t know what an Italian did to you, but you can’t hold that against an entire country or group of people. You say Chrysler is run by Italians, but it’s not. Most of the executives are still US born and raised. And that is the way that Canadian born Sergio wants it. He doesn’t want an Daimler clusterf**k. He wants an international company, not an Italian company. By your logic Nissan is controlled by the French (and Braziliian born Ghosn). And if you really knew the long range plans like I do then you would know that development of all large cars, BOF trucks, minivans, and SUV’s would be led by Chrysler, and all A, B, and C segment cars, commercial vans, and small CUV’s would be led by FIAT. That was and still is the plan. That doesn’t mean that engineers from both sides of the Atlantic won’t “cross polinate” and that’s a good thing.

        Before I forget, let’s talk engines. Small engines will be based off of FIAT technology. Large V6′s and 8′s development will be Chrysler. Some technology will be shared (Multi-air, Pentastar), some probably won’t (Ferrari engines in a Challenger/Viper, Hemi’s in a low end Ferrari).

        By the way in case you think I am also from Appalachia, I was born and raised in NJ and have been overseas more than a few times.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Windswords, I have nothing against Italians but Fiat vehicles are not in my future. Neither are Chrysler vehicles since they have a well-deserved reputation they gained the old-fashioned way: they earned it!

        For you Chrysler fanboys, hope springs eternal. If you really know the future plans for Fiat’s subdivision Chrysler, then you should be worried because Fiat is going after much larger markets than just the US market. Chrysler will just be a niche contributor with RAM and some large vehicles. Changes are a-coming.

        Maybe you should give Sergio a call and see just how receptive he is to your input. You see, I do not believe that what the UAW and current Chrysler execs want and need for their subdivision matters to Sergio and the board because they have plans of their own.

        I don’t know what Fiat has planned other than what Edward Niedermeyer posed with his question and chart. And based on that data, I think that Fiat will do very well globally. The Chrysler sub-division is not a player in their plans because the majority of new vehicles planned for the future are Fiat-based or Fiat-derived.

        But only time will tell, just like time told us that Chrysler went belly up and now belongs to Fiat. No doubt in you’re in denial about that too. That’s OK with me. Keep on wishing and hoping.

        The reality is that my relatives do not sell Chrysler products (by choice!) and the reasons they do not are pretty well covered in my comments. We all have our points of view but I cannot find where yours make any sense since Chrysler is a failed company that died, and was resurrected by the tax payers and kept on life support until Fiat was successfully bribed to take this corpse off the tax payers’ hands.

    • 0 avatar
      theo78-96

      >”I have no affection for Mexico or Fiat but EVERY manufacturer who has started to produce in Mexico has realized major improvements in quality while at the same time seeing a drastic cut in operating expense and a marked improvement in profits.”

      > Yeah, like the slushbox Plymouth Neon – what a masterpiece that was.

      >”I remember when Jeep belonged to AMC, and it was a damn better product way back then as opposed to what it is now. I still see many Pioneers running around and AMC Eagles which were all based on the Jeep rolling stock. Hardy vehicles, great in snow. Ahead of their time.”

      They were so wonderful no one bought them and AMC ran crying into the arms of Chrysler.

      “The French had a Chrysler/Simca venture going for awhile but they didn’t call them Chryslers, they called them Simca, and they were still a POS. I owned a 1969 1100. Gawd almighty, what trash!?”

      Simca and Rootes were bought out by Chrysler in the late 1960s.
      Simca were bad and Chrysler made them _worse_.

      ————-

      The 200 will be replaced with the next generation Fiat Croma, with versions for Jeep and Dodge. No news there.
      Avenger gets replaced by next generation Punto, with a Jeep version.
      A couple of IVECO vans are introduced.
      Ram 1500 gets Fiat/IVECO drivetrain.

      All pretty unremarkable.

      • 0 avatar
        Bryce

        Jeep has no cachet outside the US its just a pathetic also tried 4wd all show no ability Chrysler hasnt helped itself building and exporting crap like PT cruisers and Neons THe 300 was only partly cooked luckily its Belgian built not American or it would have absolute rubbish.
        Fiat OTOH have been improving over the last few years and now seem to have a viable product where Chrysler has only a dealer network

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I agree, Jeep does not have cachet outside of the US. I never saw any in all the places I was stationed, except those belonging to GIs.

        In Europe, the overwhelming choice in similar vehicles is the Land Rover/Range Rover and the Mercedes Gelandewagen, for those who can afford them.

        In Asia, the Toyota Land Cruiser does pretty well although they do sell other brands and models from different manufacturers there that do not sell in the US at all.

        Fiat is not rated all that high in Europe but they do have staying power, addressing problems in a timely fashion and placing their price points for everyman’s vehicles on par with the French cars of that class.

        When it comes to Fiat-owned exotics, they have no peers – not even Porsche. But not everyone can own an Italian exotic or a Porsche…

        So, will Fiat’s product plans for the future keep Fiat going? I think it will because it will insure job security for Corporate Fiat employees.

        I am not as optimistic for the Chrysler subdivision because that market share is so small in the overall picture that it is considered a niche in the overall planning picture.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I’m willing to bet that if the 500 is successful enough, some of those cars that have been identified on that list as Chryslers and Dodges will be badged as Fiats.

  • avatar
    obruni

    a fiat 500 4 door?

    noooooooooooooooooo

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Not really a 500, but an 800 — another retro opportunity:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Seat800LE.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        And remember, the 800 was based on a slightly longer version of the Seat 600 2 door, but renamed the 800. It WAS also unofficially known as the 4 door 600 in Spain and was only built from 1963-1968.

        The Seat 600 stopped production in 1973.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Essentially zero new product for the next 2 years. Ouch. The challenge will be deciding between cutting price and cutting production.

    • 0 avatar
      LeadHead

      The current line up is almost entirely refreshed/new. It’s not like their products will be stagnating. There are already numerous improvements in the pipeline for 2012, like the 8 and 9 speed automatics.

      • 0 avatar
        seanx37

        But within two years, the competition will have replaced their cars. And all of their current vehicles are better than anything Chrysler. The 200 can’t and doesn’t compete with the current Accord/Camry/Malibu/Altima/Sonata. And all of those except Sonata are due to be replaced in the next year. There can’t be that many fleet sales in the next two years.

    • 0 avatar

      Look at Ford Escape. Still sells strong while “competition” countinues to “replace”. Sure, it has to go eventually, but the trick is to know when.

  • avatar
    roper714

    Just because Chrysler is now a subsidiary of Fiat does not necessarily mean Fiat’s intention is use them to reintroduce their products. Sometimes a foriegn company just wants to own an American company, sort of like Budwiser or Miller. Hmm.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    A very interesting time line I see there.

    If you look, there ARE some models coming next year.

    A rebranded panel based minivan

    the 500 Abarth and 500 EV

    The Alfa Romeo 4C to debut

    The Ferrari 458 and 599 and an Enzo replacement

    And finally, the Maserati Quatroporte

    But you are right, little from Chrysler/Dodge and Jeep though until 2013 at least.

    And remember, when someone says, an XXX based model, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a rebadge of XXX model, but a model designed for this market, but based on at least the chassis, perhaps suspension of XXX model or the car, design wholly here, but using motors, say a diesel from said XXX model as part of a 2-3 motor choice in said model.

    But it WILL be seen what actually transpires as time goes on as a lot can happen in 2 years time.

  • avatar

    Freshen… or refreshen?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    No affordable subcompact until 2014? Not good.

    They can’t get by on Alfas and Ferraris, and the 500 is a niche one-trick pony.

    They’d be better off Federalizing some of the other nice Fiat products.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Personally, I think some of you may be a little harsh on this one.

    I say this simply that Chrysler has little funds to work with, and had very little time and managed to revamp their lineup, in some cases significantly with at times a FULL redesign (Jeep Grand Cherokee), others, a new interior and a new engine (Pentastar V6) amongst other smaller improvements ALL within about 18 months. Almost no other manufacture redesigns a car in that little space of time, at least it’s a 4 year cycle before a car is brought out so when a current model debuts, the next gen is just beginning to be developed if it’s not already started in the process.

    And since MUCH of the line for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep had JUST been done, and brought out this year, it’ll take at least another 18 months before even cars like the 200 get replaced with a new model.

    Give them time, they are doing the best they can, but I’ve read up enough to know that Marchone isn’t about to drop Chrysler, Dodge, nor Jeep so we’ll always have them but it WILL mean sharing platforms between them for starters. What’s so wrong with each sharing what is their best strengths in creating new and exciting models? Fiat has revamped MUCH of their lineup already but Chrysler needs help, and now if it is to survive.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Leaves allot of questions. Where will all these alfa’s be sold? Out of Chrysler showrooms? Also not refreshing the Challenger is a huge mistake, all of Fiat/Chrysler’s recent good press has come from their interior improvements, they can’t continue selling the Challenger looking the way it does on the inside when its LX stablemates have gotten so much better.

  • avatar
    obruni

    so Dodge is getting a compact based on a Fiat.

    is that Fiat the Bravo? if the T-Jet engine carries over, it should be competitive with the Focus.

  • avatar
    obruni

    also, I don’t see a Wrangler diesel listed up there.

    boooooooooo

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with diesel enthusiasts is that they talk loudly on the Internet, but when it’s time to buy, they only buy a little bit of the cheapest garbage like decontented Jettas. How much do you think diesel Wrangler is going to cost? With a 50-state diesel, too?

      I bought my Wrangler with cash. I would have considered diesel, mostly because of improved range (2D fuel tank is rather small), but I need a 50-state diesel, no piss tank, and above all the reliability and dependability. I take this thing 50, 70 miles from the nearest human settlement, far outside of range of cellphones and tow trucks.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    I would be very surprised if Chrysler put off introducing a new minivan until MY2015. Automotive News could be wrong.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    In their (limited) defense I don’t see the Dodge C-segment (PF) listed; it’s “due” to launch in Jan 2012 in Belvidere off of the Alfa Guilia platform and end up replacing a lot of the iffy Jeep platforms too on spin offs.

    I say “due” because it’s at least 6 months behind… I hear stories of repeated delays due to styling changes but I can’t imagine who has the clout to do that at Chrysler. ;-0

    Same is true of their Liberty replacement in Toledo… 3 to 6 months late.


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