Daily Podcast: What Is the Chrysler Brand?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Seriously? If Alfa and Fiat are going to be added to the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep mix, something has got to give. And why not Chrysler? Maybe it’s just that every time I hear the word Chrysler, my immediate association is Sebring. Which is more than enough motivation for me to wish the brand dead. Perhaps the Chrysler name could live on as an umbrella brand (i.e., GM). As a vehicle brand though, Chrysler is toast. Or am I missing something?

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • European European on Aug 19, 2009

    i dont get these chrysler fanboys. you mean chrysler is a near luxury brand? you're just kidding yourselves. a 300c is just like a charger with differently designed airvents and a fake-leather steeringwheel. thats not near luxury. thats rebadging. i was looking at dodge's and chrysler's site and was comparing MSRP of an avanger $22k and a sebring $24k with a toyota camry $20k (check for yourself if in doubt). and i mean HAHA! crazy sh1t. they are out of their minds. i dont think fiat will bring alfas to the US. why not? well, there is no market for it, or it would be too small. fiat got a sweet deal with other chrysler operations probably better than the US domestic market share. chrysler was selling the old sebring in russia probably has some good deals there, so fiat got an easy way into the russian market. and you could read on TTAC that they will produce the fiat500 in mexico, make it cheap and gain share of the latin american market. besides that, they finally get SUV tech from JEEP, and fiat was lacking that. my suggestions: 1. fiat should bring the 2011 grand cherokee and some smaller derived CUV to the european market, and ditch the stupid-stupid suzuki sx4 rebadge (fiat seidici or something). 2. remove itself from the near luxury market in the US. theres too many players: lincoln, buick, cadillac, acura, lexus, infiniti, hyundai (with the new sedans), bmw, audi, mercedes, hell even toyota,honda, and nissan are better off in that market segment than poor chrysler. 3. merge chrysler and dogde. ditch either the chrysler or dodge badge. figure out which one is more appealing to the US customer (i'd prefer dodge). keep Jeep in the US as a SUV seller, and the other as a car-minivan-truck seller -> if you want to offer some type of near luxury, offer it as a trim level, not a complete rebadge. 4. make your products cheaper to compete for the less affluent public. edit: why i think fiat products wont fare well in the US? well, fiat is making subcompact cars, not really a market in the US for that. the biggest car they make is fiat linea, which is the size of toyota corolla or so. but why introduce it in the US if they already have the avenger/sebring sized-car. furthermore, the chrysler 200c concept looks alot like the opel insignia, which is already selling in europe, and asia as a buick rebadge. so it can come anytime soon to the US (as a buick regal). the 200c is not even close and will come short once introduced. some chrysler fanboys mentioned in their comments, bring back plymoth and move chrysler up-market, and for 2-3 generatitions the perception will change? yea, but consider will chrysler-fiat hold on for so many years? 2-3 generations is like 10 or so years. i think NOT LIKELY. if nothing else they'll run out of time and money. to be honest i was thinking the same before, chryslers can look cool n stuff, they have that art deco feeling, and was hoping their products will change, but that change should come dramatically, and it sure will cost alot, so i gave my hopes up. it's just unfeasible.

  • Detlump Detlump on Feb 28, 2010

    I always considered Chryslers to be equivalent of Olds/Buick. Plymouths were always budget cars, entry level cars. I think Chrysler wanted Plymouth similar to Lincoln Mercury, take them in low, then keep them as they become more affluent. Mercury isn't as budget as Plymouth, but same general idea. Chrysler always was a feast or famine type of place, they couldn't develop too many unique models. I mean, even back in the 60s and 70s there was a lot in common with Charger/Road Runner/Coronet/Belvedere B Bodies. I don't hear people call a Charger a gussied-up Road Runner or a RR a stripper Charger. I think it makes sense to turn Lancias into Chryslers and vice versa. Lancia is no real name recognition in the US, Alfa does.

  • Getacargetacheck Getacargetacheck on Sep 23, 2011

    Seems like Fiat could bolster Dodge by ditching Ram and Chrysler (which has no future as a luxury brand anyway). The 300 could become a Dodge Monaco or Dodge 440, the T&C could easily be switched over to the Grand Caravan as a trim level, and the 200 could become the Dodge Daytona (a much more logical name for a convertible). Simply ditch the 200 sedan and just make the next Avenger MUCH better with lots of trim lines like the Camry. Ram should always be badged as a Dodge. The Chrysler brand seems archaic and pointless. There might be some lost sales along the way, but at least Dodge would have broader appeal like Chevrolet or Ford or Toyota.

  • Dave1951 Dave1951 on Sep 24, 2011

    To what end would eliminating the Chrysler brand serve, other than satisfing the religous-like affliction of Chrysler haters? Under the sword of Daimler and Cerubus, Chrysler was on the verge of death. Remember that was just two years ago. Chrysler went from roughly 74,000 employees in 2007, to just over 28,000 this year. Engineering and product development was stripped by its previous owners. Since the emergence of Marchionne the 300 has been reappointed more upscale, and the 200 was significantly revamped to a much more competitive vehicle, at least to the point where it is no longer the embarrassment the Sebring was, and Chrysler's had 15 straight months of sales increases. Likewise Charger and Avenger were also updated, but I detect that Chrysler is moving the Chrysler brand more upscale and will likely be far more separated from its Dodge sisters in the future. If that bears true, then Chrysler's direction makes the same sense as a Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Ford/Lincoln, Buick/Cadillac, or even a Chevrolet/Buick. Keep in mind that historically axing an automobile brand doesn't doesn't do much to keep customers. Only 14% of Plymouth owners returned to Chrysler after killing the brand, only 19% returned to GM after dumping Pontiac, and if my memory is accurate, less than 20% of Oldsmobile owners ever came back to GM. I cannot think of any previous Saturn owner that is now driving GM. Pyschologically, if the company you've done business with decides to abondon you, most people's sense of loyalty becomes greatly deminished. The fact that Fiat wants to bring additional European nameplates to North America is not a sign that Chrysler will have too many models. I sense that they will be keeping enough differentiation that Lancia and the other brands will impede on Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands like the five divisions of GM did. On the upside Fiat's other entries will bring factory utilization to Chrysler, thereby lowering fixed costs for US operations. At least one Lancia model will be built here. Better yet, so far this year I Chrysler's exports are 40-50% above years previous. Ram's a different story. I'm not sure what the long term rationale is or was for separating Ram from Dodge. Currently, I don't believe there are any Ram only stores and maybe that's where they want to go. Ford does that in my area now (one Ford truck only dealer).