QOTD: A Solution for FCA's Future?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

A dated product lineup, questionable fuel economy across the board, a general need for some reworking. These are all issues with Fiat Chrysler’s offerings in North America. Today we’ll try and come up with some solutions.

Today’s topic was generated by news yesterday of the $77 million in penalties FCA paid to the NHTSA, as its vehicles were not efficient enough to comply with fuel economy targets. But that’s not the only issue. Before we get into the weeds, let’s have a look at FCA’s current offerings on North American shores.

Dodge

  • Challenger
  • Charger
  • Durango
  • Grand Caravan
  • Journey

Chrysler

  • 300
  • Pacifica

Ram

  • Ram trucks
  • ProMaster

Jeep

  • Wrangler
  • Renegade
  • Cherokee
  • Grand Cherokee
  • Compass

Fiat

  • 500
  • 500X
  • 500L
  • 124 Spider

Alfa Romeo

  • 4C
  • Giulia
  • Stelvio

Maserati

  • Ghibli
  • Quattroporte
  • Levante
  • GranTurismo

FCA has more than one brand with an incomplete lineup, and several vehicles which are past due for replacement. Fiat sales have fizzled these past few years, and Chrysler hangs on with just two products on offer — one of which is fairly old. Jeep and Ram are company standouts, both of which are doing well. But that’s not enough. Alfa Romeo and Maserati will never bring the big volume FCA needs, so where do you begin?

Does it make sense to cull a brand or two, consolidating product offerings to save cash? How about refreshing products — do the Journey (successful abroad) and Charger (not) need replacements similar to their current forms? Is it too late for the super-lux Grand Wagoneer to land at Jeep showrooms?

Which route would you take to safeguard FCA’s future?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Steve203 Steve203 on Feb 13, 2019

    It occurs to me that a lot of the weakness in US Fiat sales is a perception that Fiat will be withdrawn from the US market, and no-one wants an orphan. The best way to fight that perception of a zombie brand would be to introduce new Fiat brand products, in segments that are currently seeing a lot of demand. In Brazil, Fiat makes the Toro crew cab metric ton pickup. Fiat has under development a small 3 row SUV based on the Toro. Both the Toro and new SUV are built on the same platform as the Compass. The Toro would run afoul of the chicken tax due to it's Brazilian production, but if it and the Toro SUV were built for the US market at Toluca, where the US market Compass is built, it would duck the chicken tax. FCA has eliminated the policies that made it so expensive for a CDJR dealer to carry Fiats, so the new pickup and SUV could be carried in the same showroom as the other brands. What to call the Toro in the US? I like Rampage. So the Steve plan would have the Fiat line consisting of the toys: 500 and 124, the 500X and the Rampage pickup and SUV. But, the Fiat brand is poison to a lot of people. If the Rampage was called a Dodge, they would probably sell 10 times as many, but calling it a Dodge would fight the Dodge image of V8 pavement rippers. The Rampage would be perceived as too light duty to be a Ram, and not luxurious enough to be a Chrysler. Which brings us back to calling them Fiats.

  • DragDog DragDog on Feb 14, 2019

    FCA is in good shape for drivetrains: GSE, GME I4/I6, (hybrid) Pentastar, (supercharged) Hemi. But most of their platforms are outdated and/or licensed; and they have too many brands struggling to be full-line. - Pull a "revenge of the K-car" and develop a new global subcompact/compact/midsize transverse FWD/AWD platform, for economy of scale. No one does this better than Mopar. - Giorgio continues as "the Alfa platform" - green-light a new sturdy, inexpensive longitudinal RWD/AWD "the Mopar platform" for muscle cars and unibody SUVs - green-light a new Model S-sized BEV platform - Cut the legacy platforms, legacy engines, separate Ram brand, separate SRT brand. reorganize Jeep-Alfa as global premium brands Jeep = global full-line, crossover/SUV-only, offroad-capable. Great potential to make Jeep synonymous with rugged tall ride-height vehicles worldwide. Wrangler/Gladiator continue redesign Renegade, Compass, Cherokee on new transverse platform redesign Grand Cherokee on new Mopar platform rebadge the Fiat emerging market products (Mobi) as Jeeps Alfa = global drivers' cars in between Mazda and BMW, filling the gap left by BMW's softening. They can't out-refine BMW, but they can out-pure-of-heart them. Giulia and Stelvio carry over add roadster, coupe, larger sedan, larger crossover all on Georgio platform redesign MiTo and Giulietta on the new FWD platform only use GME I4 and I6 engines, with Alfa-specific Italian-style exhaust tuning Fiat = by and for Europe redesign the 500, Panda, Punto, Tipo, etc. on the new transverse platform drop the trucks/SUVs, that's now Jeep territory pull out of North America, it just didn't work out Maserati = Italian-style spare-no-expense EVs drop Ghibli redesign GranTurismo, Quattroporte, Levante as Tesla-fighting BEVs partner with some Italian fashion designer on interiors for marketing purposes be content with only 3 models and modest sales reorganize Dodge-Chrysler as North America-specific, shared dealership, full-line between the two of them Dodge = by and for "red state" USA; aggressive trucks and performance cars drop Journey and Caravan (Chrysler territory) Ram trucks merge back into Dodge redesign the Durango, Charger, Challenger, and Demon on new Mopar platform, all with a Hellcat option Dodge Daytona = restyled Alfa Giulietta QV Dodge Cuda sports car = restyled Hemi-powered Giulia coupe Chrysler = by and for "blue state" USA; eco-conscious tech-enabled people movers Pacifica continues Chrysler Journey = cheapest-possible 3-row crossover Cirrus/Aspen are crossovers based on Cherokee/Grand Cherokee with hybrid Pentastar 300 redesigned on new Mopar platform, with hybrid Pentastar or Hemi Fifth Avenue revived as Model S style BEV based on new Maserati Levante use recycled materials for marketing purposes

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
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