Chrysler CEO: "We're Going to Have to Offer a Broad Array of Products Across Every One of the Segments"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

TTAC’s call for Chrysler to reveal what the hell it plans on doing with U.S. taxpayers’ $10 billion “investment” has been answered. According to Automotive News [sub], a plan for Chrysler’s product line-up is “emerging” ahead of the official reveal in . . . November. That said, calling so-called plan “vague” would like be calling Hillary Clinton’s tome “ It Takes a Village” slightly left-leaning and insufficiently attributed. Anyway, here ya go: “A Chrysler brand with more luxury than Cadillac. A Dodge brand known for driving dynamics. A Jeep lineup that is — well, Jeep. And vehicles to cover every market segment so that wildly fluctuating fuel prices won’t destroy sales.” Sounds crazy and it’ll never work.

[Chrysler CEO Gary] Fong envisions the Chrysler brand as “a notch above Lincoln, a notch above Cadillac.” This suggests a substantial change, because Chrysler vehicles generally sell for many thousands of dollars less than Cadillacs.

Note: I’ve sat in knock-off Barcoloungers with more luxury than the majority of Cadillac’s lineup. Lincoln? Chrysler could set the bar lower, but then they’re already kicking Chery’s ass. Bottom line: the chances that Chrysler—CHRYSLER—can gain a toe-hold in the American luxury (near luxury?) market before their/your cash runs out are somewhere between Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers.

Dodge as a performance brand? Someone’s been huffing Viper exhaust fumes (you remember: the “brand” they couldn’t sell?). Well, not only performance.

[Dodge CEO and head of marketing for all the brands (don’t ask) Michael] Accavitti said the Dodge brand needs to evolve, transforming the muscle-car spirit from brute force to driving dynamics. Dodge will go “from a middle linebacker to Lance Armstrong,” he said. “We will remain a sporty brand, with a lot of emphasis on the performance area, but also on better fuel economy, benefiting from the great technologies Fiat is bringing to us,” Accavitti said.

“Jeep is Jeep” may solicit fond memories of Opus’ magnum (so to speak) Opus, but you’d kinda hoped Chrysler could do better than a four-wheeled Zen koan.

Never mind. Fiat will come to the rescue, with European style vehicles. Uh, no.

Michael Manley, CEO of the Jeep brand and head of product planning for all the brands, vowed that while Fiat technology and platforms will be part of the plan, “You won’t see Fiat DNA in our brands.”

Will the last ChryCo executive out of bankruptcy please turn out the lights? Oh wait, they’re doing just that.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Mtymsi Mtymsi on Sep 21, 2009

    You're being far to generous, William Clay Ford doesn't even try.

  • Rix Rix on Sep 22, 2009

    The car he is referring to is almost certainly the Alfa-Romeo 169, which was supposed to relaunch the Alfa brand in North America this year. There has been speculation that it would have (an already federalized) Maserati V-8 stuffed into it to generate interest. With Fiat resources, they should do quite well. Remember, Chrysler is much smaller than GM or Ford. All they need is two or three modest hits to make money. And they have that, particularly if they can sell enough Rams to break even. Minivans are unexciting, but they are very steady in middle America where large families are more common. Add in a compact diesel/gas pickup for both Jeep and Dodge and a Ram 1500 diesel...and a Fiat-sourced compact car that doesn't sell for pennies at the dollar like the Caliber. They also can use Fiat's diesel technology. It wouldn't work for Ford or GM who require bigger volumes, but it could work for Chrysler the way AWD did for Subaru. But put a diesel in the 300C and get something unique that adds another 20k units a year. Add it to the Ram and get another 30k units a year. Bring over the Strada to compete with the Ranger and get another 50k units a year... and heck, stick the same diesel in that too, since it will already be federalized. 50k units from Fiat 500, 30k Mito, and maybe 10k Alfa 169's with 10% of those having a Maserati engine...I doubt that would go for under $60k. Where they still have a hole is competing against the Accord- the Charger/300C is too old and Fiat doesn't make a car big enough. I think Fiat can be successful: Dodge/Fiat 500 Small Car Dodge/Fiat Grand Punto small car Dodge Charger large sedan. Dodge/Chrysler minivan Dodge/Fiat Strada small pickup Dodge Dakota mid-size pickup Dodge Ram pickup Dodge Journey mid-size SUV Chrysler/Fiat Mito Small Premium Car Chrysler/Alfa 159 mid-size premium sedan Chrysler/Alfa Romeo 169 Large premium 4-door CC Chrysler 300 large sedan.

  • Lorenzo 1 million barrels is 42 million gallons. The country uses 368 million gallons a DAY. The reserve was set aside after Hurricane Sandy caused a gasoline shortage for emergency vehicles. The hurricane season starts on June 1 and is predicted to be active. Nice going.
  • Chuck Norton Toolguy- I have. It's hard on the knees...
  • EBFlex Welp the corpse is at it again. They think they can buy votes by selling off from the SPR. The best thing they could do to get votes is close the border and start deporting people. That would guarantee them a win in November. As of right now though, they are not doing that and Trump is rising in the polls every day.
  • Jalop1991 What is this "dealer" thing Ford speaks of?
  • Picard234 So this release amounts to 2.7 hours of gasoline consumption in the US. You won't even see a penny. The administration is draining the reserves for political optics, nothing more.