By on May 23, 2012

An interview in July’s Automobile magazine has Sergio Marchionne putting to rest a number of future product plans for Chrysler, among them, the definitive fate of the minivan.

Speculation has been brewing over which of the current minivan twins will live on, and which will be come a crossover. Sergio himself claims that “the owner of the minivan is Dodge”, and that the new Grand Caravan will be a more exciting vehicle, despite retaining the classic minivan features. The Town & Country will become a Mercedes R-Class type vehicle that will be more European luxury than updated Chrysler Pacifica. A range of 4-cylinder and V6 engines as well as front and all-wheel drive will be available for both vehicles when they launch around 2015.

The next Chrysler 200 will be based on the same architecture as the Dodge Dart (i.e. the Alfa Giulietta platform) and be sized roughly in line with the Audi A4. A sedan, coupe and convertible will all be available, with 4 and 6-cylinder options. Chrysler will continue to provide vehicles for Lancia, but the brand’s future seems dim, with Marchionne expressing little interest in investing resources into Lancia. The Chrysler 100 hatch will take a while to appear – Automobile cites a launch date of 2016, which seems like far too long.

Jeep is considered by Marchionne to be one of the two “global brands” (along with Alfa Romeo), and Marchionne says that all future products will have a Trail Rated version. The new Liberty, based on the Giulietta architecture, will launch in Detroit next year, with a host of other products to follow. Among them are a new “Jeepster” (a subcompact with an Alfa version), a new Compass and a full-size SUV dubbed the “Grand Wagoneer”.

Dodge will lose the Durango, Avenger and Caliber as Marchionne seeks to trim the brand lineups to around 5 vehicles each, while Fiat will continue along with a 500-based lineup, including a 500 Zagato, 500L, 500XL (presumably the 7-seat version) and the 500X crossover, similar to the Mini Countryman. And finally, Marchionne says more is coming from SRT. The article doesn’t quote him on anything, but suggests SRT versions of the Dart, Journey and a possible SRT Barracuda that could also give way to a new Alfa sedan using the same platform. Marchionne did stress that the Dodge muscle cars need to evolve, rather than re-invent themselves. As far as accuracy goes, the article more or less confirmed the MX-5 based Alfa Spider, and was presumably written long before the announcement was made. Hopefully the rest is just as accurate.

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30 Comments on “Marchionne Interview Reveals Product Bonanza For Chrysler, Fiat, Dodge And Alfa. Lancia Is SOL....”


  • avatar

    Derek, what does SOL mean?

    No word on Punto or Panda for Canada?

    • 0 avatar

      This was a U.S. publication so no word on that, but the 500s strong sales and multiple outlets reporting it would leave me to believe that it’s happening.

      • 0 avatar

        Hi Derek. New info for you on Fiat going-ons. Freemoont and 500 are absolute hits in Brazil. Suppliers have been contacted about Freemont, and my sources im Fiat Brasil say its a go. 500 could follow shortly.

        Weird thing is a Viaggio is being shown to selected dealers. Now, the word was Dart would me made only in America. I think that’s changed. Since it makes no sense to bring Viaggio from China, I believe it will be made in Mexico and sold there and in Brzail. Linea is a sure thing too though it would have to be positioned lower to make space for Viaggio at top of Fiat line in Brazil. As Fiat does better in Cnnada than US, it could well be that Canadians will get to choose from a Mexican-built Viaggio and a US-built Dart soon. Of course, this is all tentative, but it is being tested out.

      • 0 avatar

        Marcelo,

        Honestly I doubt the Viaggio would be sold in Canada. Too close to the Dart and the name would be a total non-starter in the English language. I would bet the Panda will be first, followed by the new Punto as well as the 500 variants. People buy them here because they are cheap but have the cachet of being Italian/the looks that goes with that. A Dart with a different badge would not offer the same package.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      “Shit Out of Luck”.

      HTH! :-)

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    S#X% out of luck

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    Wow, is Sergio for real? Every time this guy opens his mouth in an interview or something is reported regarding his plans for Chrysler/FIAT I can’t help but wonder if he’s too good to be true. This guy really seems to “get it”, more so than pretty much any other major auto exec. I can think of; I sincerely hope it’s genuine and that this momentum will continue into the future. Hard to believe that Chrysler was in hospice in the throws of the “death rattle” only a few years ago with virtually no one believing they’d make it.

    Every single product plan reported in this piece seems like a good idea, and several are downright tantalizing. We may well be on the precipice of a genuine “golden age” for Chrysler if they can maintain their focus and bring all of this goodness to fruition.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    I think slimming down lineups is generally a good thing, but I feel that getting rid of the Durango is a bad idea. The vehicle seems to be a success for Dodge, getting good reviews and, at least in my area, getting good sales numbers. Dodge kind of has a corner of the market that neither Chevy or Ford provide- a large crossover that manages to provide good seating AND towing capacity for families that don’t need something as big as the Suburban or Expedition.

    I’m in no way a big fan of Dodge, but this was certainly one of their better ideas. I think Marchionne would be making a mistake to drop it without a suitable replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      daveainchina

      I think your right here. Other than that, I think things are looking up for Chrysler, now if only you can get other CEO’s to do the same with GM. But somehow I doubt that will happen.

    • 0 avatar
      That guy

      There are a lot of very good reasons to move the Durango to the Jeep brand. The Jeep brand carries more weight than the Dodge brand does when it comes to SUVs. The Durango moves about half the volume that the Explorer and Traverse do, despite the fact that it’s vastly superior to both of them (I’ve driven all three). Let’s not forget that the Grand Cherokee also thoroughly outsells the Durango, even though it’s smaller and about the same price when equally equipped. It also focuses the SUVs into a single brand that Sergio wants to take global.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Hooray for Sr.Marchionne ! If he follows through with his plan, I see great things in Chrysler’s future. He could be the Italian Carlos Ghosn. I mean that in a good way.

  • avatar
    Zammy

    “Mercedes R-Class type vehicle that will be more European luxury than updated Chrysler Pacifica. A range of 4-cylinder and V6 engines”

    Using “luxury” and “4-cylinder” in the same sentence make my mind reel (particularly for a vehicle of this size and expected price). If Chrysler expects to upscale the Town & Country it needs to be offered with the 3.6L Pentastar as the entry-level engine and the G2 5.7 as an upgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Many people think a low gas mileage is a luxury and in this day and age they might just be right ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      mr_muttonchops

      It’s possible the 4 cylinder version would be to appease the European countries that sell Chryslers, similar to how you can get pretty underpowered Mercs and BMWs across the pond.

      Gas over there is obscenely expensive (as any European commenter will probably tell you in 3…2…)

  • avatar
    James2

    Just read that Fiat will share the platform of the next Mazda Miata. They should expand the partnership, giving Lancia access to Mazda platforms. Mazda needs the help and Lancia gets new products. Win-win, no?

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    As I recall, the Town & Country is the Chrysler division’s best selling model. People buy T&Cs because they want a minivan. I think it will be a mistake to transform this vehicle into a CUV. Unless of course, “retaining classic minivan features” means the new T&C will still have sliding rear doors, flat floors and Stow-N-Go Seats.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverHawk

      My feelings exactly. The R-Class and Lincoln MKT have not been successful ideas in our market. I hope their new idea is as marketable as the T&C. Otherwise, I like the direction of the product development. Sergio doesn’t want overlap, so Wagoneer means no Durango, and Caravan means no Chrysler minivan. It could work well for the dealers if done correctly.

  • avatar

    Looks like he left Wrangler alone, which is probably the best for which we can hope at this point.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Grand Wagoneer replaces Durango. I hope the rumored Dodge rear wheel drive Alfa based midsized sedan is still on. Thankfully Caravan stays and Town and Country turns into something truly magnificent.

    Marchionne is the Steve Jobs of the car business, he truly has built a fighting machine

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      There is no RWD Alfa platform for Dodge to offer a product on. The 169 is an on-again-off-again proposition that may or may not arrive in in 2014, and if it does, it will likely be on the Chrysler 300 platform.

      Remember that Alfa struggles to break 100,000 sales globally: there is not much volume there for building bespoke platforms.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If Sergio isn’t going to make a Lancia version of the 4C, then he should just put that brand in the ground.

  • avatar

    There already was a Grand Wagoneer. (it wasn’t called that, I forget what it was called) (discontinued)

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      You’re thinking of the Commander. The problem with the Commander was poor packaging. They used the same wheelbase as the Grand Cherokee and tried to shoehorn a 3rd row in there….it was for extremely limber children only. The Durango (and presumably the future Wagoneer) has a longer wheelbase and is therefore a more useful package…one that seems to be selling ok as well.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    SOL in medical terms = space occupying lesion, so it will be much more unpalatable than simply out of luck!


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