Chrysler to Spin Off Ram as Separate Brand

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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?

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • European European on Sep 27, 2009

    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.

  • European European on Sep 27, 2009

    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.

  • 95_SC 95_SC on Sep 27, 2009
    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.
  • JK43123 JK43123 on Sep 28, 2009
    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