By on September 25, 2009

But does it measure up? (courtesy:cars.com)

You might be forgiven for thinking that a major lesson of GM and Chrysler’s kicking-and-screaming-and-sucking-down-tax-dollars reorganization was that less is more when it comes to brands. Only you’d still be wrong. Chrysler appears to be adding brands faster than GM shed them, as the Pentastar adjusts to life under its Italian overlords. We’ve already heard that the Fiat 500 will be America’s only Fiat-branded product, that Chrysler is supposed to become a Cadillac competitor, Alfas are en route, Dodge and Jeep will stick around, and somehow Mopar is a brand as well. Well, let’s throw another log on that fire. Edmunds Inside Line is confirming wild-ass rumors (by way of anonymous sources, of course) that Ram will become a standalone brand, selling pickups, vans, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Why? In order to “allow [Dodge] to develop as an affordable performance-car brand,” goes Inside Line’s insider’s line. So why not just throw Lancia into the mix and give ChryCo a GM-tastic eight-brand lineup?

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62 Comments on “Chrysler to Spin Off Ram as Separate Brand...”


  • avatar
    wsn

    Edmunds Inside Line is confirming wild-ass rumors (by way of anonymous sources, of course) that Dodge will become a standalone brand, selling pickups, vans, SUVs and commercial vehicles.

    ——–

    I thought Dodge was a standalone brand for the past many years. Do we really need anonymous sources to know that?

    Plus, the title says “Ram”, there isn’t a single mentioning of “Ram” in the entire piece.

  • avatar
    John R

    …that Dodge will become a standalone brand, selling pickups, vans, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Why? In order to “allow [Dodge] to develop as an affordable performance-car brand,”

    Was that supposed to read, “…that Ram will become…”?

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    That’s right guys, Ram will become a stand alone brand. I guess my brain had issues with typing such nonsense and I subconsciously wrote “Dodge.” Cognitive dissonance FTW!

    Text amended.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Good God almighty this is a bad idea. My previous slight optimism that Fiatsler wouldn’t be as big a failure as new GM are all gone.

    There wasn’t much wrong with ChryslerCo’s branding in the first place (Compass excluded)- they had product/quality issues.

    The only positive memories the Dodge brand carries is the Ram and musclecars. If there aren’t any plans to sell either under that banner, then Dodge losses most of its fanbase. A major part of future customers are going to have to be conquest sales, and there’s no chance in hell of that working.

    Is there something wrong with making Fiat the “affordable sporty brand” and keeping Dodge the way it is, just with improved product quality? Do they even need an entire brand devoted to sportiness?!

    Why even bother with this crap when all the dealers are trying to be brand consolidated anyway? So now we’ll have “Chrysler-Jeep-Alfa Romeo-Fiat-RAM” dealers? That makes my local “Cadillac-GMC-Buick-Chevrolet” shop look downright logical.

    Why not just bring back Desoto and Eagle while they are at it?

  • avatar

    dreams of glory

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    I wonder if FIAT is going to phase out the Dodge and Chrysler brand in favor of their own brands and RAM and Jeep.

  • avatar
    carguy

    So Dodge will become Chrysler’s Pontiac?

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I think it’s a diversion. The only possible gain to separate the the trucks from the cars, is a scenario where the entire Dodge brand is discontinued. Performance-oriented cars in the Fiat empire? That spells Alfa.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    This has to be a result of the Dopeler (sic) Effect: the tendency of dumb ideas to seem smart when they come at you really fast.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I wonder if FIAT is going to phase out the Dodge and Chrysler brand in favor of their own brands and RAM and Jeep.

    That makes about 90000% more sense than this plan.

    Even if that’s goal though, I still think dropping the “Dodge” off the Ram and minivans would be a mistake.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    If Chrysler is going to compete with Cadillac, and Dodge is going to be a sport brand, then where is the mainstream brand? My guess is that Dodge will only be about as sporty as Pontiac was (one or two actual performance models and a bunch of rebadged mainstream stuff with garish styling elements tacked on), while Chrysler will be Acura at best, Mercury at worst.

  • avatar
    european

    so ok, even if they take RAMs seperate
    and “allow [Dodge] to develop as an affordable performance-car brand,”

    they CANT rebadge Alfas as dodges, coz alfas sell with a premium (as i said before, audi money).
    so there goes that affordable part.

    sure, they can lower the price (and thereby the quality of alfas) to meet dodge price-tags, but that would be killing Alfa as a brand, it would loose any appeal

    and theres still the issue of the mainstream brand, dodge is that now, but dodge moving upmarket (Alfas) and fiat only being sold as
    fiat500, whats left for joe-regular?

    what i believe is… all this hockuspockus will just drain more money outta chrysler, and later on, outta fiat as they get more interconnected, and kill both companies off

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Ramit! That makes no sense.

  • avatar
    seanx37


    I wonder if FIAT is going to phase out the Dodge and Chrysler brand in favor of their own brands and RAM and Jeep.”

    Yep

  • avatar
    jimble

    The Inside Line story uses the word “likely” twice and cites no sources. I’ll believe this when I actually see the announcement from Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Presentation is everything. Park a Fiat 800 next to a Dodge Ram truck and neither will look good to buyers. One will look like it needs an Exxon tanker and the other will look like its supposed to be used on orange plastic track.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Has somebody slipped an hallucinogenic into the water at Chrysler?

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    It certainly looks like they’re separating the crown jewels as individual parts. Chrysler is meaningless, Plymouth is long gone and Dodge can’t find an identity under the corporate structure. There you have to make the brands the identity. There isn’t many in the portfolio than can take that load. Possibly the Challenger or a division based on the LX platforms, RAM and of course, Jeep.
    Once you have successfully exploited it, then it’s easy to sell. About the only assets that Chryco has left.

  • avatar
    mkII

    Gardiner Westbound :
    No hallucinogens my friend, they just forgot to take their medications.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Why stop there? Let’s bring back Imperial, Eagle and DeSoto!

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I have a question for the Europeans out there, or anyone with experience…

    Are FIAT’s as bad of cars as they appear to be? I have looked at their website and have no idea why anyone would buy one. I see nothing that would sell to Americans. No product that could be altered to be a Chrysler or Dodge. What exactly is the plan here?

  • avatar
    Andy D

    why would Cerebus/Fiat need to create another brand, wabbout DeSoto? or Plymouth? The sad thing is that people will buy it. The same rocket surgeons who bought into the “hemi” BS.

  • avatar
    jonny b

    Call me crazy but I can see some method to this madness. Try this on for size:

    Fiat = small affordable cars
    Chrysler = entry-level luxury cars
    Dodge = American muscle cars
    Alfa Romeo = European sports cars
    Ram = trucks
    Jeep = SUV’s

    It makes more sense than GM:

    Chevy = Everything
    GMC = same trucks as Chevy
    Buick = same cars as Chevy but with leather
    Cadillac = space ships

    That said, it’s one thing to have good market segmentation, but it has very little to do with making a decent car.

  • avatar
    Eazy

    Why do I get the sense that if they’d tried to keep only three badges and, e.g., sell the 500 as a Dodge or Chrysler, the B&B would’ve raised up cries of “brand dilution”?

    I’m gonna play Devil’s Advocate here: maybe it’s a good thing that, unlike GM or even Ford, Fiatsler actually has some idea of what they want their brands to mean. In theory it actually looks like a nice spread – you’ve got Fiats for cheeky entry-level cars, Dodge and maybe Alfa for sporty (or near-sporty) cars, Chrysler for luxury (or near-luxury) cars, Jeep for off-roading, “Ram” for anything big enough to generate its own gravitational field. Compared to Chevy, for example, these are all pretty darn focused, and that should sound good if you really think “branding is everything.” In a year or three – again, in theory – Joe Fourbanger will have a good sense for what the cars under each Chrysliat brand are for, while he may still be stumped about Mercury or Chevy or Buick or Ford.

    Now, the thing is, we don’t live in the world of theory. Out here in Reality, Chrysler and Dodge (and if you’re a little older, Fiat and Alfa) are the most damaged brands in the biz and have been for some time. Joe Fourbanger reads CR on occasion, and he doesn’t like what he’s heard. What does Joe think of these brands? “Sporty”? “Luxurious”? Try “junk”. And it’s gonna take a long time for Joe to come around, no matter what improvements Chrysliat makes over the short term. And needless to say, a recession might not be the best time to start multiplying badges.

    In the end, I could go either way on this. I just can’t say how much difference it makes to focus your brands and introduce new ones when the stuff you’re selling is still two or three rungs below the leaders (and when the public knows it).

    Edit: damn! Jonny b beat me to it.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “Are FIAT’s as bad of cars as they appear to be? “

    As with many other companies, Fiats biggest market is its home market, the Italian. Not only because they own 90% of the Italian brands, but also, that Fiat historically have concentrated on the type of cars that appeal to Italians, in price, size, and so on. Historically, Fiat has been a world leader in small to mid-size cars, but failed royally when it comes to larger cars. The last time they tried something in the big league, was the JV between Fiat/Lancia and Saab. When Fiat bought Alfa, they got one as well. If I’m not mistaken, the current Alfa 166 is an offspring of that platform:

    http://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/luxury-and-personal-luxury-cars/169-four-of-a-kind-alfa-romeo-164.html

    Speaking generally, the Italians fails as miserably in making big cars, as the American fails to deliver a decent sub-compact. Quality-wise, since the late 90’s, there are no big difference between the German, Italian, French or whatever European factories. Ford has factories in Turkey and in Spain. Porsche make Boxster-bodies in Finland, Skoda in the Chech Republic is on par with its stablemate Audi TT qualitywise. The Italians doesn’t differ much from the rest, it’s more or less the same.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    jonny b

    ===
    Fiat = small affordable cars
    Chrysler = entry-level luxury cars
    Dodge = American muscle cars
    Alfa Romeo = European sports cars
    Ram = trucks
    Jeep = SUV’s
    ===

    I’d agree with that sentiment, however at present the lineup is:

    Fiat = Small cars most people in North America would be afraid to drive because of the silly idea that small engines go slow and small cars are bad in crash tests.
    Chrysler = Ugly cars that no one is buying.
    Dodge = Slightly cheaper ugly cars that no one is buying.
    Alfa Romeo = Great sporty saloons and roadsters that have a terrible reliability reputation.
    Ram = Ugh… ok the trucks look good, but apart from that their only new van is an old mercedes design.
    Jeep = SUV’s that no one is going to buy because it almost guaranteed that gas prices will go up again.

    And with a complete lack of any new designs this is how it will remain for several years – losing cash. It’s going to go very – very wrong.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “I see nothing that would sell to Americans. No product that could be altered to be a Chrysler or Dodge. What exactly is the plan here?”

    You can forget that Chrysler will ever develop a platform on its own. Any new car will have bits and pieces of everything in Fiats catalogue. When the Alfa 159 debuted in 2005, it came on the GM/F-platform. Due to the divorce between GM and Fiat, that car was the only one on that platform. When the 159 is refreshed or replaced, expect the next Chrysler Sebring to share its platform, either a new one or redeveloped from the 2005 model.

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    Although I sincerely doubt that anything can save Chrysler, I do see the logic in separating Dodge cars from Ram trucks. Because Dodge has been more successful with trucks and minivans than cars, the “Ram Tough” pitch has begun to typify the whole range. And it really isn’t appropriate branding for a car company that hopes to compete in the mainstream … and sell to female buyers. Furthermore, from a visual perspective the creep of truck styling cues into Dodge cars over the past few years has been an umitigated disaster IMO. Leave the truck grills and ram’s horn badges on the trucks … where they belong.

    This isn’t Fiat wasting our money to establish a brand new brand–the Ram name is well-established and appreciated by Chryco truck buyers already. Let them have it and let’s see what Fiat can do with a Dodge brand that’s clearly focused on passenger cars.

  • avatar
    jonny b

    @ Sinistermisterman,

    My brain tells me your right but my heart wishes you were wrong. I have some strong attachments to some of these brands and I’m sure some of the B&B feel the same way. I fondly remember ski trips in beat-up but brave Cherokees. My buddy’s ’67 Charger is the coolest car I’ve ever been in. And what car lover doesn’t swoon at the sight of topless red alfa spider on a sunny day. You know it’s in the shop 6 days out of 7, but for a moment you just don’t care.

    That’s the thing with Dodge, Jeep, Alfa and Fiat. They’ve always appealed more to the heart than the head. The automotive landscape would be a boring place without them. I wish them luck.

  • avatar
    european

    seanx37 :

    I have a question for the Europeans out there, or anyone with experience…

    Are FIAT’s as bad of cars as they appear to be? I have looked at their website and have no idea why anyone would buy one. I see nothing that would sell to Americans. No product that could be altered to be a Chrysler or Dodge. What exactly is the plan here?

    well yea, that’s what i’ve been saying. you cant
    sell fiats in the states. fiats arent that bad. yea they have some bad reputation but improvements have been made (e.g. Alfa got some german head to bring in quality) and sure their lineup is more Euro-centric.
    but what Rod Panhard said, you cant sell RAMs and dodges and fiats alongside eachother.
    “its just wrong”

    sure fiastler still gonna try to quickfix everything with facelifts….

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    At first, I thought someone had been drinking way too much Red Bull, but this isn’t a bad idea when you stop to think about it.

    I kinda like Chrysler’s mentality here – they’re willing to take risks and stomp on preconceived notions.

  • avatar
    european

    FreedMike :

    oh man mike, take the risk, drink a redbull, jump of the cliff & maybe “redbull will give you wings”

  • avatar

    ZekeToronto :
    September 25th, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Although I sincerely doubt that anything can save Chrysler, I do see the logic in separating Dodge cars from Ram trucks. Because Dodge has been more successful with trucks and minivans than cars, the “Ram Tough” pitch has begun to typify the whole range. And it really isn’t appropriate branding for a car company that hopes to compete in the mainstream … and sell to female buyers. Furthermore, from a visual perspective the creep of truck styling cues into Dodge cars over the past few years has been an umitigated disaster IMO. Leave the truck grills and ram’s horn badges on the trucks … where they belong.

    I can’t help but wonder whether this is at least part of the motivation behind the Joan Rivers treatment ordered for several Mopar machines. After all, if Fiatsler does plan to spinoff RAM into its own nameplate, it wouldn’t do to have Dodge vehicles with RAM snouts.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    At first, this whole thing sounded ridiculous to me. The last thing Chrysler needs is another brand!

    But then I remembered a TTAC commentary, a month or two ago, about how somebody somewhere would judge the possible success of a name by adding the word “Anal” in front of it.

    Suddenly this whole Ram thing makes sense!

  • avatar
    seanx37

    “When the Alfa 159 debuted in 2005, it came on the GM/F-platform. Due to the divorce between GM and Fiat, that car was the only one on that platform. When the 159 is refreshed or replaced, expect the next Chrysler Sebring to share its platform, either a new one or redeveloped from the 2005 model.”

    So, the next Sebring is going to be on the last Chevy Malibu platform? WTF? That car wasn’t very good to begin with. Let alone enough to compete with…well anything. By then a new Accord,Sonata, and Camry will arrive. Who the hell is going to buy a Fiat designed, Malibu platformed Sebring with a drive train from god knows where?
    For the record, I live in Warren, Mi. I have friends and family who work for Chrysler. I have an interest in them survival.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I kinda like Chrysler’s mentality here – they’re willing to take risks and stomp on preconceived notions.

    I just don’t see how this is a risk worth taking.

    At this point, Dodge is the Ram. Look at the brand’s logo, the “Grab Life by the Horns” slogan, the Ram being the first ChryslerCo production vehicle to get the 5.7L V8, etc.

    The main defense of this plan is that super-focused brands are a good idea. Well, even if that’s right, this plan is still not the way to do it.

    They should make Dodge the truck/van/heavy brand. Just get rid of the Dodge cars that no one really likes that much anyway.

    Then either leave the car side to the Chrysler/Fiat/Alfa banners. Or, they could throw Plymouth back out there. It would take 10 minutes to Barracuda-fy the Challenger and Fury-fy the Charger. Then the PT Cruiser could slide over and free up luxury showroom space for the Chrysler brand. Plus, Plymouth coming back could also be marketed as an iconic resurrection of sorts.

    Hell, they could make an all new brand and it would be better than this WTF? strategy.

    Instead, the plan is to take a burly truck brand in Dodge and take away the trucks and vans that largely define it in a bizarre attempt to completely re-invent it as a Mazda-like thing.

    At best I see it accomplishing nothing because the trucks and “sporty” Dodges will be sold alongside each other at the same dealerships. At worst, it will roast the Dodge brand and confuse people.

  • avatar
    cory02

    From what I gleaned from the article, this may be a somewhat curious business decision but it won’t be the unmitigated bankruptcy-initiating disaster that GM’s exercise in branding was unless Fiatsler starts offering badge-engineered trucks, vans, and SUV’s as Dodges, Chryslers, et al and opens a bunch of Ram-only dealerships.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “…Cognitive dissonance”

    I believe diet and exercise can control the malady.

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    ‘Ram’ trucks?I’m still getting over the extinction of ‘Fargo’ trucks.
    http://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    silly idea that small engines go slow and small cars are bad in crash tests

    Sounds more like a fact than a “silly idea”. Aside from turbo/supercharging the hell out of a little engine, it’s going to be slow. Unless you put it in a super light car, but then it’d not do too hot in a crash test would it?

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Wouldn’t it make sense to have the Jeep brand carry SUVs AND trucks (and other commercial vehicles)? Isn’t this part of the Jeep heritage?

  • avatar
    HPE

    When the Alfa 159 debuted in 2005, it came on the GM/F-platform. Due to the divorce between GM and Fiat, that car was the only one on that platform. When the 159 is refreshed or replaced, expect the next Chrysler Sebring to share its platform, either a new one or redeveloped from the 2005 model.

    This is absolutely NOT true. The 159 had a protracted gestation and was originally supposed to be on first-generation Epsilon. Meanwhile, the totally different ‘Premium’ platform was being jointly developed by Fiat, Saab and GM North America, to be used for the new (stillborn) 9-5, 166-replacing 169, Cadillac and Buick, and perhaps also a new large Lancia. One by one, the GM brands dropped out, citing rising cost. When the final GM brand (Saab) dropped out of the project, Alfa did not want to lose all of the development put into Premium, but the 169 was nowhere near ready and in any case, not a priority. So to save the platform, they shifted the 159 and Brera/Spider onto it. This entailed some compromises; Premium is both front-drive/AWD and rear-drive capable, but to carry over as much as possible from the Epsilon 159, they kept the front-drive/Q4 layout rather than switching to rear-drive. This is also the reason why the Premium platform has exactly the same wheelbase as the European Epsilon (2700mm). But it is a completely different chassis to a Malibu – it has double-A-arm front suspension for example, and even now has exceptionally high torsional rigidity for its class.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Two thoughts. First, a lesson from ancient history. In 1955, Chrysler spun Imperial off as a separate brand. From 1955 to , i believe, 1973, Imperial was its own brand. Except that EVERYONE continued to call it a Chrysler Imperial. In 1974, Imperial was demoted to being a Chrysler model again, then was discontinued after 1975. The moral here is that the truck will be called a Dodge Ram for however long this experiment lasts.

    Second idea is that maybe this is not about branding so much as it is about franchise laws. Spinning off Ram as a separate brand allows the company to award Ram franchises to any of its dealers or to allow new dealers that stand alone or can dual with others without truck lines.

    In my area, a large Dodge dealership was closed. Across the street is a large and successful Chrysler Jeep dealer. Giving them a Ram franchise would plug the single hole in their lineup without adding a lot of redundant vehicles.

    So, maybe this will be a painless way to kill off dodge without franchise law problems if they managed to get rid of all the Dodge-only stores already.

    OK, a third thought. At least, unlike GM, these guys don’t think they can have a big success by doing what they were already doing anyway. I am encouraged that it is not business as usual at Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    perception is everything. Chrysler is perceived as a stock swindle made good by government with taxpayerbucks. FIAT stands for Fix It Again, Tony. It is a winning combo allright.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Johnny B wrote:
    “Fiat = small affordable cars
    Chrysler = entry-level luxury cars
    Dodge = American muscle cars
    Alfa Romeo = European sports cars
    Ram = trucks
    Jeep = SUV’s

    It makes more sense than GM:

    Chevy = Everything
    GMC = same trucks as Chevy
    Buick = same cars as Chevy but with leather
    Cadillac = space ships”

    I think that’s the best construction on this report as any. Hope it turns out to be true. Dodge’s small affordable cars appeal to no one except rental Co. execs. Chrysler only has its vans going for it. Pickups are still fairly strong as well, so you can call them whatever without hurting the sales.

    However the first glance perception of this is: “Mr Chrysler the cancer appears to be in remission, feel free to light up a non filter Camel at any time.”

    As other posters have commented, the weak link will be Fiat’s and Alfas. Will they fill in the gaps in the Chrysler line up or will they open them even further?

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    @HPE:

    “This is absolutely NOT true.”

    So, what in my statement wasn’t true? I just quoted the Wikipedia page on the 159:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_159

  • avatar
    davejay

    Hmm, here’s a thought, triggered by another comment above.

    So, the Ram brand takes the trucks and such, and Dodges get rapid overhauls to look different than the Ram products. So, what would they look like?

    Answer: Fiats. They’ll remake ’em in a purely cosmetic way (front and rear and trim and wheels), and redo the interiors a la Caliber, to resemble Fiat products. They’ll call that the “New Dodge.”

    Then they’ll stop developing new Dodges, and they’ll just start bringing the Fiats over for a seamless product transition. The New Dodge look will be launched on American-designed products, and so will have some credibility, so that when the cars turn into Fiats most consumers won’t realize what’s happened.

    That’s really the only reason for doing the redesign so quickly — to establish the Fiat look as the New Dodge look as rapidly as possible so they can kick off the product transition plan. This is a strategy straight out of Nissan, once Ghosn came in; major facelifts on their current cars that made ’em look like Renaults, then they started bringing the Renaults in (Versa et al.)

    Expect to see the same thing with Chrysler and Alfa Romeo, too.

  • avatar
    european

    davejay :

    you never saw a renault in your life. nissans dont resemble anything renault. yes they have offerings for the same niches & share the platforms, but are visually completely different.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    ajla :
    September 25th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    They should make Dodge the truck/van/heavy brand. Just get rid of the Dodge cars that no one really likes that much anyway.

    The problem is that this leaves them with no entry level brand.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Considering Cerberus completely gutted Chryco’s R&D thereby leaving zero new product in the pipeline and Fiat’s need to get their platforms/vehicles on sale in the US ASAP I don’t think it really makes much difference how they go about marketing the vehicles. They just need to get the vehicles on the market. If the vehicles themselves are well accepted by the car buying public the branding/marketing becomes almost irrelevant IMO. Most buyers seek out vehicles they like for reasons other than how the manufacturer markets them. The recipe for success lies in the vehicles themselves not how they are branded/marketed. For instance, if they brought out a well accepted compact car I really don’t think it matters whether they call it a Chrysler, Dodge or Fiat, people will buy it. For obvious reasons they would market near luxury/luxury vehicles under the Chrysler name, SUVs under the Jeep name and trucks under the Ram/Dodge Ram name. To me, establishing a separate Ram brand doesn’t sell any more or any less trucks. Somewhat of an exercise in futility. Fiatsler has a lot of more important issues to address than how to market/what to name their vehicles.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Freedmike:

    The problem is that this leaves them with no entry level brand.

    Like I wrote in my comment yesterday, I would use either Fiat, a revived Plymouth, or an all-new brand for entry-level duty.

    IMO, all three of those options would work better than attempting to completely transform a Dodge brand that is hopelessly married to the image of the Ram pickup.

  • avatar
    european

    ajla :

    ok, and what Fiat nameplate would you sell as
    Plymouth then? people talk all kinds of rubbish

    go to fiat.co.uk http://www.fiat.com.br/monte-seu-carro/
    and pick a nameplate to sell?

    go on…

    edit: fiat uk doesnt have all the models

  • avatar
    ajla

    @european:

    ok, and what Fiat nameplate would you sell as
    Plymouth then?

    I don’t think you understand exactly what I am advocating. I absolutely would not sell any Fiat/Alfa re-badged under any traditionally American nameplate.

    If Fiats are coming to the US (and I have no idea if they will be successful or not), then I think they should only be sold under that badge.
    _____
    In the case of my previous comments, assuming that it is best for there to be a separation of trucks and cars, my hypothetical near-future Fiatsler U.S. showroom was more along these lines:

    Plymouth:
    -PT Cruiser
    -Barracuda/RoadRunner (current Challenger)
    -Fury (current Charger)
    -Voyager (higher quality Journey)
    -Reliant/Acclaim/Valiant/Breeze (Some sort of much much higher quality Avenger.)

    Dodge:
    -Ram/Ram HD
    -Sprinter
    -Grand Caravan
    -Some Suburban-sized Ram-based SUV
    -Dakota

    Chrysler (probably should be killed but whatever):
    -300
    -200C
    -Some luxury CUV

    Jeep:
    -Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited
    -Patriot
    -Grand Cherokee

    Fiat:
    -500
    -Bravo
    -Linea
    -Panda

  • avatar
    european

    @ajla :

    ok, so here are my thoughts

    panda wont sell, its too small & underpowered

    linea will steal volume outta the “new”
    avenger, both are affordable small sedans

    bravo (tho exceptionally beautiful) wont sell
    well in the US as its a hatchback

    so for fiat only 1 car left, the 500 to appeal to the fancy folks who are into minis

    —-

    the 200C, “Some luxury CUV” and “Some sort of much much higher quality Avenger” have to be developed/made yet. that takes time & money.

    and yea the Grand Caravan should sell alongside
    cars, not trucks (makes more sense to me)

    ——-

    so lets sum it up, you are either introducing
    new products that wont sell well (my opinion at least)or have products that arent ready yet.

    what is left is just the old cheap(crap) stuff you had before and werent selling anyways which led you to bankrupcy.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @european:

    My major involvement in this thread is to say that Dodge belongs mostly on trucks and not on “affordable sporty cars”.

    The “success” of the Dodge brand in Europe is the same fate that a Dodge brand without the Ram faces in the US. I don’t think splitting off the Ram and Dodge is a good plan. If you agree with that, then I’m happy.
    ______
    As far as the Fiats go, I personally don’t expect them to ever break out of niche-status here. However, Marchionne did not get involved in ChryslerCo to not bring over the Italian cars, so a hypothetical future showroom has to include them no matter what I think about their chances for success.

    I picked the Panda, Linea, 500, and Bravo because, to me, they seemed to be the ones that had the best shot at working in the US/Canada market.

    I thought the Linea could be a lower volume and sophisticated car that competes more with the Jetta while the Avenger-type car would be the volume player going after the Camcords.

    Hatches are gaining traction in the US, so I don’t think the Bravo would fail just from its body style.

    The importation of the 500 is all but confirmed, and the Panda I just threw in there because I’ve heard it’s pretty good.
    _________
    With the 200C, the shorter LC platform already exists with the Challenger, the sheetmetal work is done, and the new powertrains are claimed to be ready to go. So my thinking was that a lot of the major work for the car was already completed and it could be ready around MY2011.

    An upgraded Avenger and Journey shouldn’t be too hard because there is a ton of room for improvement with both. Interior and build quality overhauls would give much improved vehicles without necessarily needing to drop tons of money on development.

    I wrote “eventually” for Chrysler’s luxury CUV because I understand that it would need some time/money for development. I hope that Marchionne doesn’t expect success by never spending money for updating the lines or introducing new products.

    With the Grand Caravan, I was on the fence where it belonged. It could go with either, but I threw it in with Dodge because I thought a “tough” branded minivan might give it a unique selling point over the classier family rides like the Odyssey, Sienna, and Flex.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    “panda wont sell, its too small & underpowered”
    The Manual 1.0 Fiat Panda I test drove in the UK back in 2008 felt quicker and handled better than the shitty Automatic Chrysler Sebring I once had the misfortune of renting when I came across the pond.
    I still find it amusing that some of my colleagues here in North America cannot believe that it is possible to get a small 1.0 car over 100mph (not that I’d ever drive one that fast…)
    And as for Fiats build quality? From as long as I can remember until the to mid 1990’s they were absolutely shit. All of the earlier Fiats had a tendency to turn into iron ore in 5 years or less. From the mid 1990’s onwards build quality got much much better, and now Fiat offers some of the best value small cars in Europe.

  • avatar
    cpmanx

    Boy there’s a lot of speculation here! From the vague, unsourced comments in Inside Line, this sounds like it might be an idea that the Fiat folks are floating to see what kind of reception it gets before proceeding. It also seems possible that Fiat is talking about using “Ram” as sub-brand within Dodge to link all the trucks together, sort of the way Toyota plans to use Prius as a sub-brand for its hybrids.

    At any rate, if “Ram” branded vehicles are still sold in the Dodge dealership and are still unique models, what does all of this matter? It’s mainly a marketing ploy. I have no idea if the advantage of uniting the trucks under a single brand image exceeds the disadvantage of running a separate ad campaign–but it doesn’t sound like a big deal either way.

    The other decisions, based on what’s been publicly revealed so far, also don’t sound so bad. Restricting Chrysler to luxury cars makes sense; restricting Fiat to the 500, sold as a standalone Euro brand (the better to compete with MINI) in Dodge dealerships, makes sense, too. And the hasty facelifts of the Caliber, Patriot, and even PT Cruiser (!) are a bit depressing, but I don’t see that Fiat has a choice since new product is still about 2 years away.

    The one that is hard to grasp is Alfa Romeo. If the new Dodge is to be an accessible performance brand, that seems to leave little room for Alfa. And if Alfa will use the next-gen 300 platform (as rumored) for its large RWD cars, then why have both Alfa and Chrysler marques here?

  • avatar
    HPE

    @HPE:

    “This is absolutely NOT true.”

    So, what in my statement wasn’t true? I just quoted the Wikipedia page on the 159:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_159

    Sorry, what I meant to add after that par was that Premium will be dumped once the 159/Brera/Spider life cycle is completed, in favour of Fiat’s new C-segment C-Evo platform, plus a LWB derivative. Standard-length platform will debut underneath the new 149 and will be lengthened for US applications, including the Sebring replacement and 159 replacement.

  • avatar
    european

    Sinistermisterman :

    i never said the Panda is a bad product or has bad built quality. all im saying is, its unsuited for americans. think of slightly tinny itty bitty bigger than a smart. sure it might be fun to drive around town not so on highways.

    ajla :

    The “success” of the Dodge brand in Europe is the same fate that a Dodge brand without the Ram faces in the US. I don’t think splitting off the Ram and Dodge is a good plan. If you agree with that, then I’m happy.

    i agree with Rams not splitting off frm dodge. but more later on**

    As far as the Fiats go, I personally don’t expect them to ever break out of niche-status here. However, Marchionne did not get involved in ChryslerCo to not bring over the Italian cars, so a hypothetical future showroom has to include them no matter what I think about their chances for success.

    sure they will bring them, i’m not denying that. im just predicting their faith (low or no sales). i might be wrong or right. we shall see.

    I thought the Linea could be a lower volume and sophisticated car that competes more with the Jetta while the Avenger-type car would be the volume player going after the Camcords.

    the linea (14k euros) is almost half the price of a jetta (20k+ euros) so they arent real contenders. i dunno. i think having on offer 2 vehicles that are targeting the same demographic isnt that good.

    Hatches are gaining traction in the US, so I don’t think the Bravo would fail just from its body style.

    yes i agree, its gaining traction, but will fiatstler have the time to keep on while the
    salenumbers rise to a profitable level. i doubt that.

    The importation of the 500 is all but confirmed, and the Panda I just threw in there because I’ve heard it’s pretty good.

    the Panda is good. scroll up to see what i wrote back to Sinistermisterman.

    With the 200C, the shorter LC platform already exists with the Challenger, the sheetmetal work is done, and the new powertrains are claimed to be ready to go. So my thinking was that a lot of the major work for the car was already completed and it could be ready around MY2011.

    sure, but its launch is still at least 1 year away. im not saying dont bring the 200C, it sure does look good, but its lines are resembling the ones of the opel insignia. if GM brings insignia as a buick to the states (i think its already been sold as buick in asia), this would take the sales from the 200C.

    I wrote “eventually” for Chrysler’s luxury CUV because I understand that it would need some time/money for development. I hope that Marchionne doesn’t expect success by never spending money for updating the lines or introducing new products.

    ok, i agree.

    With the Grand Caravan, I was on the fence where it belonged. It could go with either, but I threw it in with Dodge because I thought a “tough” branded minivan might give it a unique selling point over the classier family rides like the Odyssey, Sienna, and Flex.

    also you make a valid point, for me its egal-could work both ways ;)

    **last night i got the idea that they are splitting RAMs off of dodge coz its the only profitable nameplate. they then can sell it to nissan (? or whoever) or operate it themselves. and kill dodge alongside with chrysler and use the saleschannels to sell the complete fiat lineup (fiat, alfas,…). or even dont sell fiats in the US at all, and concentrate on the Latin American market.

  • avatar
    european

    to make my post complete, here’s more of my toughts

    i dont think the car market will bounce back that easily. at least for the next 5 years, they wont be selling 17million units/year.
    and even so, during the best times, some of the Detroit3 were loosing money.

    i think that fiat is heading in the wrong direction with bringing fiats/alfas to the US.
    they wont sell enough to make it thru.

    i think fiat should try to keep chrysler/dodge an american brand, to refine it, make it better. if chryslers have a bad rep, ditch the brand, make dodge/Jeep the average-joe’s brands.
    you dont need a near luxury brand coz that niche is filled with numerous contenders.***

    affordable brands will have more chance to sell in the post-recession USA. now that pontiac/saturns are practically gone (& buick moving upmarket), 2 “affordable-car” contenders are out of the game. use that to grow your sales, fill that void.

    thats what i think fiat should do.

    ***and moving chrysler upmarket even upper than cadillac is insane!! do they really think someone will buy his new imperial-i-have-doors-like-a-rr-so-i-must-be-luxury just to see a ($14k) pt cruiser on the road? no, dudes,
    chrysler cant never ever be luxury.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    fiats arent that bad. yea they have some bad reputation but improvements have been made

    Yeah…the old “we used to be crap but now we build good stuff” argument has worked for GM. Preception is everything anf FIAT’s are preceived as rusting, steaming piles of garbage in the US.

    For the record, I lived in Italy from 1997 to 2002 and I never owned any of these mythical “good FIATS” that were built from the mid 1990’s on. My new Punto wasn’t really any more reliable than the 1984 Autobianchi A112 it replaced and the stupid electric power steering made it way less fun to drive. 2 newer Alfas were no better. (This is a lot of cars for 4 years but I lived in Naples and they kept getting stolen…thankfully in some cases). Even the new FIATS couldn’t hold a candle reliability wise to the 92 318I wagon I had or the damn 97 US spec Escort I bought to bring home for that matter. The FIAT apologists on here sound just like those trumpeting that GM is just as good as Toyota.

  • avatar

    Why even bother with this crap when all the dealers are trying to be brand consolidated anyway? So now we’ll have “Chrysler-Jeep-Alfa Romeo-Fiat-RAM” dealers? That makes my local “Cadillac-GMC-Buick-Chevrolet” shop look downright logical.

    Actually it would be “Chrysler-Jeep-Alfa Romeo-Fiat-Dodge-Ram”

    Why not just bring back Desoto and Eagle while they are at it?

    Plus Imperial and Plymouth and Fargo! Let’s really confuse people! Because they say if a customer is confused they will go somewhere else.

    “Only at your local Chrysler-Jeep-Alfa Romeo-Fiat-Dodge-Ram-Fargo-Imperial-Plymouth-Eagle dealer.”

    John


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