By on June 2, 2015

2015 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition

Suppliers close to FCA and its plans say production for a dozen new and redesigned models have been delayed, including key Jeep and Ram offerings.

While high-margin products like the Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Ram 1500 wait for their redesigns, Alfa Romeo may be the only brand in FCA’s portfolio to receive its awaited models much sooner than planned, Reuters reports.

The suppliers stated a number of reasons behind the delays, including last-minute design and engineering changes, especially those whose changes could reduce the automaker’s overall investment in its products in the short-term as CEO Sergio Marchionne continues seeking a partner for consolidation. FCA held a net debt of €8.6 billion ($9.6 billion USD) at the end of Q1 2015, while cash and marketable securities fell €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) over the same period.

Despite the automaker’s focus on updating its most profitable models, redesigns of said models are being pushed back. The redesigned Ram 1500 was to hit production by the middle of 2017, but the suppliers say the pickup will begin its trip down the line in November 2017. Meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler is set for a July 2017 introduction instead of earlier in the year, the Grand Cherokee may be delayed by as much as a year from its autumn 2017 launch, and the Grand Wagoneer — which is expected to share its underpinnings with the Grand Cherokee — may not make its autumn 2018 production date.

Other models to see delays in introduction or redesign include: a Jeep compact crossover to replace the Patriot/Compass siblings (pushed back six months from spring 2016); Dodge Dart and Journey (full redesign set for 2019-2020); Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger (new designs to now come in 2019 or later); and Chrysler full-size and mid-size crossovers (postponed/shelved from 2017 and 2018 introductions).

[Photo credit: Jeep]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

74 Comments on “FCA Delaying Dozen Model Introductions, Redesigns Across Product Range...”


  • avatar
    redliner

    Wait, you mean to tell me that the current Dodge Journey still has FIVE more years?! That’s ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I say milk it to the point when the tooling is so bad they can’t even line up the panels. Remember when GM extended the Camaro by gluing bodies together?

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        holy cow, really?

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Everyone ignore mister Fred, here.

        This is what you call ‘body sealant / adhesive.’ Every car has it to a certain degree. The 4th gen F body used it to adhere a composite panel to a metal frame. I’d like to know what Fred’s attachment strategy would have been in place of glue…

        Truth is, ze Germans invented something worse. It’s essentially a piece of corrugated material (cardboard) layered and covered with body sealant. These are inserted under the roof skin to stop the wind from buffeting the super thin, cost reduced sheet metal.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I think it was the 3rd generation F-bodies that were notorious for being in production so long after the tooling wore out that looking around the door openings revealed a bucket-full of shims.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          “Truth is, ze Germans invented something worse.”

          If they invented it, it must be good.

          “It’s essentially a piece of corrugated material (cardboard) layered and covered with body sealant.”

          I can remember something similar to that in the construction industry. Used as a roofing cover IIRC.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          I was a bit frivolous with the “glue” comment, but in fact the 3rd generation Camaro was extended a few years by adding adhesives. It was still welded.

      • 0 avatar
        PeteRR

        AMC kept using the same sheetmetal stampings for so long that they were selling Joops for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      davewg

      Hard to believe, right? It’s already dated.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        What do they think this is, the old Fuselage design where they spent practically 10 years trying to keep altering the basic shell?

        Imagine the discounts! Maybe it will like the end of W-body production where they’ll actually know how to put the thing together…

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          “Maybe it will like the end of W-body production where they’ll actually know how to put the thing together…”

          I was wondering why my 2012 has been so good!

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Zachman, surely you read https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/avoidable-contact-the-love-song-of-w-chevrolet-impala/ before buying… ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          At least those old Fuselage Chryslers were beautiful cars right up til the end!

          Can’t say the same about the Dodge Journey.

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I actually saw a new Journey the other day. It had the off-road looking Crossroad package with the pseudo push bar front bumper and blackened trim and skirts. I don’t know how a Dodge/Jeep dealer offers these. Unless they are there as a ploy to push Jeep sales. “You don’t want that get a real Jeep; a Cherokee”

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    “Alfa Romeo may be the only brand in FCA’s portfolio to receive its awaited models much sooner than planned”

    Gotta make sure you roll out the high volume/high profit models first…

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @bball40dtw,
      I agree with you.

      I do think the Ram and Wrangler should be the first vehicles to work on.

      I even think with the Ram, just an extensive refresh with some drivetrain tweaks, aluminium doors, bed, etc would be good.

      Also, redesign the front end. Get rid of that Korean Asiatic looking from end fro Ssyangyong and make it attractive.

      Leave the rest because if Sergio is looking for a partner to warm up to they will have the design and engineering done for him.

      But they will not have the Ram or Wrangler.

      The Grand can get by with some new body panels and a refreshed interior.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    Mary Barra’s kicking herself for declining the merger so quickly now…

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Hoa-no! Sergio, he’s-a gonna have a Costa Concordia all-a over again.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Good news for the new wrangler, most likely good news for the Ram trucks as well. The common feature in all new vehicles across the industry is to decontent performance and mechanical aspects and instead feature a half baked, outdated computer in the dash that renders the vehicle inop when it goes south.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      You think pushing them back 6-12 months is going to change all that? They are doing this to decrease capital expenditures, that is all.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I read the article, it’s nothing more than a time buy. But that extra 6-12 months is an extra 50-300k sales depending on the vehicle.
      And quite honestly most of their vehicles are in good shape at the time. It’s only a bad thing for the individuals that believe a vehicle is somehow no longer capable as a transportation device if it’s not refreshed every 6 years.

      The only thing that upsets me here is the massive toilet that is Alfa Romeo. Oh and I suppose the fact that the Grand Wagoneer may be a minivan variant rather than an actual successor to the one that gave an adieu in the 90s.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    FCA should have at least another five years in their old platforms but afterward what’s the move Sergio? Maybe there isn’t one hence merger talks?

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    4-5 more years of the current Challenger/charger? While I think the makeovers have been successful isn’t this a 9-10 year old platform at this point?

    • 0 avatar
      davewg

      Something like that. And they date back to old MB E class bones from the Diamler disaster.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Sure, but what’s the competition?

      Taurus? Going away, most likely.
      Impala? No changes there either, so far as I know.
      Maxima? Looks like a low-budget sci-fi prop.

      Only wild card is the Avalon. (God, did I just use “wild” and “Avalon” in the same sentence?)

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I imagine that very few people cross-shop a 300 and an Avalon. I see much younger people in 300/Chargers than those in Avalons. Aside from being their respective automakers largest mainstream sedans, they are pretty much night and day.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          There’s a big portion of the 300 market that wouldn’t cross-shop the Avalon, but I think there’s a decent chunk of the Avalon market that would cross-shop the 300. I see a lot of 300s in retirement-oriented locales.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Not having a competitor is not reason to bail on new product. Sitting still is always a poor idea. One needs only to look at the history of the Taurus for a good example.

    • 0 avatar
      I_S

      True, but the engines and transmission are very much up to date. The JGC is running on an ML-derived platform from the same era, acquires nothing but accolades here.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yes it is, funny how those who complain about Ford’s D3 platform seem oblivious to the fact that Chrysler’s LX is quite old as well. Especially considering (as others have mentioned) it wasnt exactly all new when it debuted. Not to mention that the W body was already old when D3 was on the drawing board, and is still in production (Impala Limited IIRC).

      They also give the 300 a pass for resembling a Phantom, but a Lincoln concept that evokes more Lincoln than anything else is just a copy of [insert large luxury car here, actual resemblence doesnt matter].

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    So how serious is this? Are we talking about cutting off arms and legs? With the Hellcat selling way above expectations, maybe they should just Hellcat everything? Great sales point for, say, a Town & Country/Voyager.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Tick tock goes the death clock

    Call him Sergio McGruber

  • avatar
    dal20402

    You can only bleed cash for so long before people start noticing.

  • avatar
    dwford

    We’ve seen it all before, multiple times with Chrysler. In the late 70s they went bankrupt, but got some government money and made the K car chassis into everything. Then that got old in the 80s, and they almost went under and we got the Intrepid/Concorde, the Neon, the Stratus. Those got old and they had to merge with Mercedes, and we got the Magnum, Charger, and 300. Then we got the Caliber, Sebring and Avenger and they went under again. Given away to Fiat, we got the new Charger, Grand Cherokee, 200, and Dart. But now they are out of money again and scrambling for a partner yet again. Perhaps it’s time to call Mitsubishi again?

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      For 40 years now Chrysler has been too small to compete as a full line producer. That structural problem hasn’t changed despite all corporate structure shenanigans. Fiat had the same problem in Europe.

      Sergio’s plan was to combine both with a lot of leverage and sell the lot to one of the big ones while making a killing for himself. Seems like the globals have smelled the coffee though and are not buying into his game.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      There are a lot half-truths and downright incorrect statements in your comment, dwford.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Obviously I can’t do a full dissertation on the last 40 years of Chrysler in the comments section. The point remains that Chrysler has been on a boom bust cycle for the last 40 years, relying on mergers and white knights to remain afloat. Here we are again looking for another savior.

        • 0 avatar
          BigOldChryslers

          Not arguing against Chrysler having strong boom-bust cycles, but your description of history is worse than the reality.

          Chrysler was in bad shape in the late 70’s and got a loan from the government, but they paid it back and did not go bankrupt.

          In the late 80’s, when Chrysler supposedly almost went bankrupt again, they scraped-up enough money to buy AMC. Must’ve been all those Caravans they were selling. Hmmm….

          Your most glaring error was with the merger with MB. Chrysler didn’t “have to” merge with MB. They were at the top of their game in the mid-90’s, with a line-up of fresh models that were very popular. The merger with MB was a major blunder by CEO Bob Eaton. The company probably would’ve been better off if he’d gone along with takeover attempt by Kirk Kerkorian.

  • avatar
    Vega

    I wonder why our resident FCA-apologist BTSR hasn’t shown up yet?

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I know that Mazda does not have enough cash but if it did I would say to them buy low. Not a merger but a take over. They would finally have a full lineup. A full size competitive mini-van, a full size truck, and a full size rear drive flagship. They could close both Dodge, Fiat and Chrysler and leave Jeep alone. Yes I am aware this is never going to happen but it would be cool to watch.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      FCA is twice the market cap of Mazda, if such a thing were to occur it would be the other way around.

      Actually this is a good time for a Chinese firm to break into the US market ahead of Geely’s Volvo trojan horse.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        The other way around financially, but it’s not unusual for a smaller company’s leadership to take the reins in a merger. Look at US Airways and American.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          If you want to stay in auto and go back farther, look at Chrysler buying out Dodge. Of course, the Dodge brothers were dead, bankers were running the company and the widows wanted their cash. But even under those conditions, Dodge was much bigger than 4 year old Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “Actually this is a good time for a Chinese firm to break into the US market ahead of Geely’s Volvo trojan horse.”

        New GM beat them to the punch.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Hard to buy low when the enterprise value of FCA is 40 billion euros. While I see the logic of your suggestion, takeovers in the auto industry only happen when the firm is at death’s door and the controlling family and/or the national government has lost all hope.

    • 0 avatar
      unhittable curveball

      Mazda doesn’t need FCA, it’s engaged to Toyota and they have a cash pile north of $60 billion.

  • avatar
    RS

    3-6 for most and a 12 month delay? That’s it? Doesn’t seem too long. Aren’t most of their plants running at capacity right now?

  • avatar

    So what do the Chrysler engineers working on those projects do, work slower?

    BTW, with all of Sergio’s talk of consolidation in the industry, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Lee Iaccoca’s “Global Motors” idea. Iaccoca said decades ago that Chrysler needed to merge.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-04-21/business/8501230728_1_chrysler-corp-small-cars-subcompact

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “So what do the Chrysler engineers working on those projects do, work slower?”

      Put more time into fully developing the future product, continue to develop current products etc. There’s always enough work to do.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Update their resumes.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Most of their engineers are brand new conquest hires. FCA was tossing ridiculous money (for an engineer’s salary) at anyone with any automotive experience during the past 3-4 years.

        Most of their seasoned engineers took the 30k for a new car + separation $$$ buyout and ran in 2007(ish).

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          That was the Cerberus reduction. An earlier reduction came when Daimler took over, and the engineers absorbed from AMC made their exit.

          That one may have hurt more, because the AMC engineers were used to developing models on a shoestring and short timeline, and that was a revelation to the old-line Chrysler engineers.

          But you can’t beat Minimum Bob and Cerberus for liquidating most of what was left of Chrysler engineering.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The purest approach to private equity.

            Buy low, cut costs regardless of consequences, sell as fast as possible before the consequences become clear.

            This sort of investment adds no value whatsoever, and the people who engage in it should be recognized as parasites.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @dal Absolutely. Corporate strip mining.

        • 0 avatar

          Though the hiring frenzy of the past two or three years has slowed down, at the SAE World Congress in April, there were still companies looking for automotive engineers.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Sergio reminds me of the last guy I remember banging the merger drum this loudly — Jacques Nasser.

      He was convinced that there would end up being two automakers on each continent. Not entirely sure he was wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Sergio has done an excellent job with the company finances, especially making almost all FCA’s debt unsecured, so he can juggle/sell off assets. But the bottom line is the $9.6 billion debt is NET. The total debt is over $30 billion, and he has to keep a huge cash position to make it look smaller.

        He’s hoping to leverage that cash in a merger that transfers that debt to the new entity, with FCA stock holders (including the Agnelli holding’s 31%) walking away with cash and new entity stock they can dump later.

  • avatar
    Tomas De Torquematic

    Leaked memo from Chrysler to Jeep CEO’s: “Jeez, I thought we’d already schmoozed all these guys, can we build a single freakin’ car!? Does it ever end!”
    Meanwhile, over at Toyota HQ….

    Toyotapocalypse Now. (If you’re not sure; Google now. Continues)

    Global Marketing Helicopter Gunship Scenario.

    Colonel Toyogore, “We’ll come in low out of the land of the rising sun. And about a mile out we’ll put on the music.”

    Rest of the World, “Music?”

    Colonel Togore, “Yeah! We use, ‘Oh, What a Feeling!’

    etc, etc”

    C’mon USA – get out of your pajamas and build a global car worth a full tank!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • 07NodnarB: The Hummer…what do I think of it you ask? I don’t. I don’t think about it. That’s...
  • RHD: Everything is questionable. That’s one of the basic tenets of philosophy as well as science. However,...
  • RHD: There are hundreds of millions of tons of mine tailings that are waiting to be reprocessed. New holes...
  • RHD: That idea is what powered mechanical toys a century ago. It’s not a new idea, but certainly has potential...
  • Old_WRX: cartunez “I absolutely love the political comments on this site.” Yeah, where else can you find...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber