Fiat Chrysler's 5-Year Plan: Back in the Black by June, Bullish on Jeep, Off-road Ram on the Way

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fiat chryslers 5 year plan back in the black by june bullish on jeep off road ram

The first part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year product plan has emerged at the automaker’s Balocco proving grounds near Turin, Italy, where company brass detailed the near future of four key brands: Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati.

Yes, no mention of Chrysler, Dodge, or Fiat. They’ll get to that later this morning (is there a bell tolling for one or more of those brands, at least in America? Stay tuned…)

What we know at this point is that the company has no plans to back away from its goal of dominating the globe with the Jeep brand. There’s more SUVs coming — plenty of them, and hybrids, too. For North American truck buyers, a dedicated off-road variant of its new Ram 1500 is assured, giving the Ford F-150 Raptor a run for its money. FCA would prefer accepting your cash in that segment.

Brand boss Mike Manley said Jeep will electrify all of its vehicles in some manner by the end of the planning window — 2022. In many cases, that could just mean a 48-volt mild hybrid setup on a four-cylinder vehicle, just like what we’re getting with the Wrangler JL. European customers can expect the elimination of diesel and its replacement by eight plug-in hybrid models (bolstered by five mild hybrids), while China gets a new “urban” SUV and four battery electric models.

Globally, rumors of a baby Jeep proved true, as the brand plans to tap into the overseas A-segment with the launch of a diminutive ute with Fiat bones. Americans can expect larger offerings. A three-row Grand Cherokee’s on the way, Manley said, along with the high-profit Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Refreshes or redesigns are coming for the Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade, as well as the Grand Cherokee. All told, eight plug-in hybrid models should appear in the lineup by 2022. In the first quarter of 2020, a “Deserthawk” trim joins the existing Trailhawk and Trackhawk; Jeep promises eight “desert specific engineering standards” that sho0uld turn the models into a high-speed sand monster.

The brand wants its utility vehicle market share to grow from one in 17 to one in 12 over this time frame. Eventually, it hopes for one in five. Reach for those stars…

At the far less crowded Ram brand, the big news is a production model of the TRX concept the automaker displayed at the 2016 Texas State Fair. Hellcat power is a possibility. FCA spent piles of cash getting its 2019 1500 out the door; why not use it to its maximum potential?

Hybridization is also in the cards for the light-duty Ram pickup, but there’s no exact date for its introduction. In 2019, a new Heavy Duty model appears, and FCA’s aiming for a higher average transaction price to compete with Ford’s glitzy Super Duty line. Also in the 2018-2022 time frame? A long-rumored midsize pickup. No word on an introduction date or whether we’ll see a return of the Dakota nameplate, unfortunately.

As for the tony Italian brands, the 8C and GTV nameplates will stage a reappearance at Alfa Romeo. Brand chief Tim Kuniskis said the GTV will be an “attainable” four-seater with 600 horsepower and all-wheel drive, while the 8C should make the 0-62 mph run in three seconds. As well, there’ll be two new SUVs to bracket the existing Stelvio.

By 2022, FCA wants to double Maserati’s sales. A big part of the plan involves two new models: a SUV to slot below the existing Levante, as well as an Alfieri coupe and convertible to lure in big-spending buyers. There’s three powertrains in the works for that model, including a plug-in. How does 0-62 mph in two seconds sound? Unattainable? Well, that’s what Kuniskis promises.

During the presentation, CEO Sergio Marchionne updated the media on his company’s financials, declaring that by the end of June, FCA’s cash flow should outweigh its remaining debt. The automaker hoped to become cash positive in 2018, ahead of Marchionne’s retirement in early 2019.

[Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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  • Deanst Deanst on Jun 01, 2018

    “During the presentation, CEO Sergio Marchionne updated the media on his company’s financials, declaring that by the end of June, FCA’s cash flow should outweigh its remaining debt.” Okay, this may be pedantic to some, but terms have meanings. Marchioness has a goal of being net cash positive, meaning cash on the balance sheet will be bigger than the debt. Cash flow is an income statement term, referencing the amount of cash generated by the firm over a period of time. The MBA/CPA/CFA in me cannot let these things slide!

    • Ect Ect on Jun 03, 2018

      Amen. Sadly, this level of financial illiteracy is on show all too often at TTAC.

  • Slavuta Slavuta on Jun 01, 2018

    This grill is hideous

  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.
  • Arthur Dailey Love the Abe Rothstein tribute suits. Too bad about the car. Seems to have been well loved for most of its life.