QOTD: Favorite Product of the Marchionne Era?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd favorite product of the marchionne era

We awoke to news of former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s passing yesterday and, naturally, tributes and recollections poured in for the man who brought Chrysler (Group LLC) back from the brink for a second time. A sad day for fans of Marchionne’s leadership, not to mention aficionados of quirky, outspoken individualists.

But today, let’s think back to the products. From the early days of Chrysler’s recovery to the fully unified Fiat Chrysler era, Marchionne oversaw a number of model introductions — some of them high-caliber, others regretful. Maybe you owned a Dart or 200. Hell, maybe you loved them.

That’s what we want to hear about today.

Our target period here spans a decade — from June 2009 until last week. The model (or generation of model) doesn’t have to have been introduced under Marchionne, as there’s no shortage of FCA rolling stock that predates his tenure. Hell, the previous-generation Ram 1500 is still in production after first appearing in late 2008 for the 2009 model year. Maybe a used Ram Rebel is still on your shopping list.

It’s hard to ignore brashness and horsepower, so we imagine the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and limited-run Demon might see a few mention in the comments. My personal choice, however, is the 2015 (and onwards) Challenger, regardless of trim and powertrain. That was the year FCA took what was already a good design and refreshed it into perfection.

Before that model, I just couldn’t entirely get behind the Challenger — the full-width tail lights and body-color lower rear bumper made the coupe look ten feet tall when viewed from the rear, but the changes made for 2015 fixed everything. Gone too was the chunky, outdated interior.

I hesitate to add another product to my list as an honorable mention, as I’m not a van guy. Or at least I didn’t think I was, until I laid eyes on the Chrysler Pacifica S — a mean-looking, murdered-out minivan that’s a TTAC segment favorite. What a difference an appearance package makes. Chis Tonn’s gaga for it, and don’t get us started on vanophile Posky.

But let’s turn the mic over to you, B&B. What FCA model from the past nine years stands out among all the rest?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Geozinger Geozinger on Jul 27, 2018

    I wanted to chime in: Hellcat FTW. At first I thought it was ridiculous for a 700 HP street car, but I later fell in love with it and now want to blow any lottery winnings on one. Come on SuperLotto!

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jul 28, 2018

    Sergio brought dying Chrysler back to life with a flair only an Italian could bring to it. First, just the improvements brought to the interior of FCA vehicles from 2011 on brought me back to considering FCA vehicles. My first experience was in a 2011 Chrysler 300 rental. I'd never liked the first gen due to the gun-slit visibility, which was not complemented by the cheap Rubbermaid interior. That 2011 looked and felt much better inside than any previous Chrysler product. Still not VW/Audi quality, but vastly superior to anything before it and GM products. My last LX car rental was a 2015 Charger SXT and if I could justify that large of a car, I'd have one. The V6, 8 speed was more than adequate, if just a tad slow shifting. But it handled the cut and thrust driving required on I-95 extremely well, still returning better than 28 mpg with a large amount of comfort ( VA drivers, move out of the left lane. And eff your infinite amount of vanity tags too.) My uncle has had a V8 Challenger and now a 392 Challenger. The 392 is his favorite and this is from an old school car guy who's had 45 cars and various motorcycles over his life. He was a diehard GM guy too. I had a Ram pickup as a rental for a week and it was fine. For the possible savings over a similar Ford, it'd be a contender for my pick-up money. My brother just bought a used 4x4 Big Horn with the V6. He likes it, so far, better than his other trucks which included a first year Titan V8 and multiple F-150's, the last being a 2014 FX2. Highly impractical and odd, I will always love the Fiat 500 Abarth convertible. I still pine for the 2017 I saw at a CJD dealer in truck country. Grigio cenre ( light grey, almost whitish) with matching top and the bronze multi-spoke wheels. Handsome and unique looking car. Honorable mention is the 2013 GQ car I drove that I should have bought for nearly half price. Stupid fun, big grin kind of car, if not a perfect speed machine. And then there's Guilia. Before buying my Golf, I was considering leasing a Giulia. Went and drove one, a Ti RWD that was the demo. The terms changed and the lease was no longer a decent deal. But that test drive affirmed all those anecdotes about Alfa's being drivers cars. I REALLY wanted that car and in hindsight, I could have done it as a lease, but it just not to be. My Golf is a great car and it does what I ask it to. But it ain't an Alfa.

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.