Expect a Future Fiat Chrysler With a Lot Less Fiats and Chryslers: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, due to retire in less than a year’s time, will lay out the automaker’s future on Friday. Well, the next five years of its future — and we all know how malleable those plans can be.

According to a Bloomberg report, sources with knowledge of the plan say the near future contains far fewer Chryslers for those living outside the U.S., and no Fiats for those who are.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of FCA’s five-year strategy allegedly involves boosting the automaker’s strengths. That means Jeep, though the Ram brand helps pay a large portion of the company’s rent in North America. Globally, Jeep is FCA’s breadmaker, valued higher than the automaker itself, though Marchionne hopes to build Maserati into its own juggernaut, the sources claim.

What does the upcoming product plan, scheduled for a reveal at the Balocco test track near Turin on June 1st, mean for domestic buyers? It’s possible the threadbare Chrysler brand will become a North America-only brand. Meanwhile, the incredibly shrinking Fiat marque will eventually disappear from these shores, the sources claim.

Automotive News‘ Larry P. Vellequette predicts Marchionne will go a step further, killing off the storied (and now faded to a ghost) Chrysler brand altogether. It’s not difficult to share this opinion. There’s only two models in the brand’s stable right now, three if you include the Pacifica Hybrid as a standalone. Marchionne’s been cagey about the ancient 300’s future, rarely mentioning it when speaking of the 2021 platform swap bound for the Dodge Challenger and Charger. A mild refresh could come before its demise.

Not only that, we’ve seen no evidence of the Cherokee-based midsize crossover planned for a 2019 release. Under the previous plan, a full-size crossover would join that model for 2021. Two crossovers and a minivan? That’s some heritage…

As for Fiat, the brand’s re-entry into North America should appear in dictionaries next to “failure to launch.” Dealers can’t sell them, don’t want to have them, and buyers heartily agree. Fiat’s U.S. sales tumbled each year since the brand’s 2012 peak (its first full year on the market.) The introduction of the attractive 124 Spider roadster hasn’t set the brand on fire, nor does it look like greater standard power in the tiny 500 will do much to budge that model’s sales needle. It’s a dead brand… driving.

Another possible plank in FCA’s near-term plan is the consolidation of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands into a singly entity — at least in financial reports. It’s common knowledge that Marchionne wants a value-boosting spinoff for his Italian luxo-brands, but only after the divisions can stand on their own.

“The way we see it now, it’s almost impossible, if not impossible, to see a spin-off of Alfa Romeo/Maserati,” the CEO said last year, “these are two entities that are immature and in a development phase.”

As Bloomberg‘s report hasn’t been confirmed, we’ll just have to wait until Friday to see what brands our driving futures contain.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on May 31, 2018

    A retro AMC Eagle with the 5.7L and a manual would have people flocking to showrooms, probably showrooms of other manufacturers, but at least FCA could say they tried.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on May 31, 2018

    Long live Chrysler!

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.