By on May 12, 2021

According to a tweet this morning, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is giving the company’s top brass at each brand a decade to justify their existence. Suddenly, it’s easy to picture some nervous auto executives dotted around the globe.

This isn’t the first time Tavares has stated that all Stellantis brands will be given a chance, but this occasion seems the first to publicly put a timeline on the table. The tweet comes from CNBC automotive reporter Michael Wayland.

The merger of FCA and PSA into Stellantis created a rather large entity. Across 14 different brands, the conglomerate’s automotive offerings run the gamut: Old to new, flop to successful, European to American. At the end of this 10-year timeline, surely there won’t still be 14 brands in the company’s portfolio. Let’s do some consolidation consideration and critical thinking:

Italians

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider 33 Stradale TributoAlfa Romeo

Lancia

Fiat

Abarth

Maserati

There’s more than one ailing brand in this group. Alfa Romeo is a money pit presently; their products continually fail to revive the brand that’s been ailing since circa 1990. Nor can the brand seem to catch any footing in North America. Lancia is almost a non-entity, with its only offering a decade-old Ypsilon (reworked Fiat 500). Fiat and its easy money Abarth versions are necessary for the European market but have not done well in North America generally. Maserati is in a slightly better position than Alfa, and with its luxury branding can reach higher in the marketplace than Alfa ever will.

Outcome: Lancia dies, Alfa and Maserati play off one another, with Alfa continually playing second fiddle to Maserati. Fiat stays the course, its new product gains French parts sharing. Fiat leaves North America.

Americans

Chrysler

Dodge

Jeep

RAM

No problem proving the worth of RAM or Jeep. Both brands are a money machine in North America and are substantial enough to make their case even when they don’t really play in other markets. Chrysler and Dodge have some work to do. Chrysler has the 300 and Pacifica, and Dodge has Charger, Challenger, and Durango. Journey and Grand Caravan are dead. Aside from Pacifica, all of these things are very aged and overdue for replacement.

Outcome: Jeep and RAM stay the course, as does Chrysler with its Pacifica. Dodge is killed, and Chrysler picks up reworked Peugeot models in a “Let’s see how this goes,” sort of fashion.

French

Image: PSA GroupCitroën

DS

Peugeot

All three French brands (well, two and a half) can coexist, and Stellantis ownership means one or two will likely make a go of it (again) in the North American market. While that’s unlikely to succeed in any meaningful way, it will provide a lot of journalists exciting French car content.

Outcome: All three French brands live on, with their continual parts and platform sharing. Brief limited forays into North America are not long-lived. They may pitch Citroën more toward rugged CUV-loving Americans, and Peugeot or DS against near-premium competition like Acura.

Other

Images: GM, via Autoweek.nlOpel

Vauxhall

These two are interesting. Opel and its UK market brand Vauxhall were formerly General Motors brands, and their current lineup utilizes GM platforms. GM used Opel to provide German-sourced Buicks that Americans didn’t buy (and the Catera before them), built at the German Opel factory (which at the end was owned by Peugeot). Said Opel factory is already building DS vehicles.

Outcome: Opel and Vauxhall become Citroën-sourced brands for the European market, after the current crop of GM-designed Opel vehicles runs to completion. Their lineups are smaller and perhaps focused on EV, so as not to overlap with Stellantis’ French brands.

And there we have it, entirely nonscientific predictions by yours truly. Care to disagree?

[Images: Stellantis, FCA, PSA, GM]

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55 Comments on “Stellantis Brand Executives Must Prove Their Worth, CEO Gives Deadline...”


  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Chrysler brand dies, not Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I would agree. At least Dodge has a brand identity at the moment, which Chrysler does not. And the van could easily become a Dodge again. I do question what the Dodge brand will mean in an EV era.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Agreed – Chrysler has nothing left – kind of like the Partridge family of vehicles. Once something, now nothing, and nobody cares anymore. Dodge can continue to milk its retro machines for as long as the sell. They would be wise to redesign them between now and 10 years. But those models still have appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      Disagree. Dodge is the brand TTAC readers want. Big ole V8s, I get it. But Dodge has what? The Charger and Challenger? Both a decent, but ancient and sell because they can stack cash on the hoods. Durango? Same. Big SUVs belong to Jeep now, because they sell at a premium. Would today’s Dodge driver accept a hybrid or pure EV if Stellantis gave them the cash needed to develop them? Not likely. I see using the Peugeots in the US as Chryslers, and a way to position Chrysler to compete against Buick and Genesis. You’ve got smaller crossovers in the 3008 and 5008, already EV ready. The 508 and DS9 are beautiful, and could be priced aggressively against BMW. I’d love to see the 308GTI hatch here to compete against VW. Most buyers won’t know they are “French” and assembled from the same corporate parts bin. I’m not sure I buy into the 1970s stereotypes about quality these days.

    • 0 avatar
      cweingarten

      If they can federalize PSA and Citroen CUVs, I can see them using the Chrysler brand to sell in the U.S. Otherwise, I think both (Chrysler and Dodge) are done.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    First of all, giving such a public deadline is foolish. They already know the outcomes for probably half of these brands, and shouldn’t waste any time. Others you’ll know by Year 3 or 5.

    2. Fiat has effectively left the US market already. Cars.com shows only 415 new ones available in the US, and none are newer than 2020. Yet no announcement of their withdrawal.

    3. Killing Dodge means an entirely new direction for the US operation, meaning no more performance cars. Not sure that’d be wise, so I think Dodge will stick around with some fresh investment.

    4. French cars won’t make it to the US market. There is no upside to doing that in a brand-saturated region. The expense would be enormous, and a glance at Cousin Fiat should be cautionary tale.

    5. There would be no reason to bring any sedans to the US market, so any brand from any mfr should be considered only on the strength of its CUVs/SUVs.

    6. If electric is the future, don’t show up with short-range EVs.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “Opel and it’s UK market brand Vauxhall”

    Corey, fire your editor.

    https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/plain_language/articles/its/

  • avatar
    mcs

    They could fold the RAM brand into Jeep and just use the Jeep brand. Ram buyers won’t be too upset if they have to buy their trucks with a Jeep grill and logo. It might even boost resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      Lynchenstein

      Having a Jeep that can climb like a mountain goat isn’t a bad brand linkage.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Of all the automotive guys I worked with, the JTE guys were the best.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        >>PIG

        Agreed. Cool people. Ever work at or visit the the old Kelivnator BLDG. Cool old building. A Kahn BLDG?

        • 0 avatar
          Pig_Iron

          I spent a lot of time at JTE/PROC on Plymouth Road. The stone steps in the tower had deep groves worn by the millions of feet that had passed through. I would stop and marvel at the photographs of the rows of helicopters they built there at the tail end of WW-II.
          ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Ram and Jeep will stay. Both are worth too much money. They could put Ram back with Dodge since Ram was under the Dodge umbrella to begin with. Chrysler is functionally extinct.

      I can’t see any European cars coming to the USA unless they rebadge them.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Chrysler could sell re-badged Peugeots, Citroens and DSs while they get their foothold. Give ’em a 7 year warranty and they would sell.

        It’s funny (in a sad way) when several automotive corporations – AMC, Chrysler, Fiat, Peugeot and Citroen merge, and very soon the whole thing becomes half of what it was. The sum is lesser than its parts.

        Even money on China buying the whole damn thing in a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      You don’t know truck buyers very well. They are extremely loyal to their brands.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        They switched to RAM from Dodge without a problem. I doubt a loyal RAM customer wouldn’t be happy with a Jeep version of RAM. Besides, if they are so loyal to RAM, they aren’t going to jump to Toyota or Ford instead of switching to Jeep. It would save money to switch the trucks to Jeep and maybe the vans to Dodge to fill out that brand.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @teddyc73 – most truck guys I know still say “Dodge” instead of “Ram” or say “Dodge Ram”. It’s almost a struggle to say just “Ram”. Ram or Dodge, fans of the brand have no issues with the word “Dodge”.

  • avatar
    azfelix

    “Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?”
    -Tom Smykowski

  • avatar
    dwford

    For the US market, I’d see Dodge sticking around with a new range of on road crossovers and perhaps new Challenger and Charger models on the Guilia replacement platform. Ram and Jeep stay of course, but Chrysler dies. There’s not point in trying to revive a middle market, mid luxury brand. I’d see Alfa staying, Fiat leaving, and it seems like Maserati will stay, but really that brand should just be sold. You could make a case for the brand ladder being Dodge – Alfa – Maserati.

    Dodge can become the American Porsche
    Ram sells the trucks and a couple BOF SUVs
    Jeep keeps the off road cred (and ditches the trims that can’t off-road)
    Alfa can be the Italian BMW
    Maserati can be the Italian Mercedes 1 step up from Alfa

    It would be a giant waste of time and money to try and restart the French brands in the US. Better to just use the platforms and tech to spread the costs.

    Opel and Vauxhall can be carbon copy cars with different badges – that costs nothing to maintain.

    Lancia – one 10 year old model? Is it even a question?

    The French brands I don’t know anything about

    Fiat sells the exact same crap in Europe that they sell here, but somehow that’s popular over there? Doubtful

    • 0 avatar
      wolfwagen

      Not a horrible lineup, although I disagree with Dodge being an American Porsche (as much as I would like to see that). Stellantis has to have their equivalent Civics, Accords and CRV’s, etc. That’s where Dodge comes in. (Although they could use Opal, Vauxhall and French platforms for those cars.)

      Abarth becomes Porsche Competitor
      DS becomes the AMG for all brands?

      Chrysler & Lancia are dead -their vehicles can be absorbed by the other brands

      Fiat, Opal, Vauxhall, And the French brands stay out of North America (as much as I would love to see Peugeot back in the US.

  • avatar
    redapple

    funny how PSA transformed Opel / vauxhall into a money maker??

    Same cars. Same Plants.

    GM mgmt is a clown show.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Across 14 different brands”

    Lol.

  • avatar
    monkeydelmagico

    Taking 10 years to do the necessary cuts is about 9 1/2 years too many.

    The following brands should all die ASAP

    Chrysler, RAM, Lancia, Fiat, Abarth, Citroën, DS, Vauxhall.

    Fold any compelling products into one of the remaining brands.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Chrysler dies – Dodge and RAM are folded back together – Pacifica moves to Dodge/RAM.

    Jeep lives forever.

    Vauxhall is a dead brand walking.

    I think the only reason Alfa survives is that Sergio poured so much money into, it will be a catastrophe to kill the brand.

    Can’t see how Lancia survives.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    I hope Chrysler survives , if they play there cards right the brand could survive. ( I have soft spot as my daily driver is car I took over from my dad – a 2000 Chrysler Concorde LXI )

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Only 10 years of additional stock options and bonuses before they MIGHT have to fail upward into a new executive position?

    I’m sure they’re quite worried.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Here are three reasons why Alfa must survive:

    1) if you are forced to get an AWD SUV due to lifestyle considerations, but wish you had a RWD sedan, no other vehicle under $100k can match the Stelvio. I kicked the rear end loose today on a roundabout on dry pavement.

    2) the Rosso Competizione tri-coat is simply the most beautiful color I have ever had on any vehicle. In low light, it looks deep red, in bright light it looks like a normal red, and when the sun hits it right, it literally has golden sparkles.

    3) the Quadrifoglio in Stelvio or Giulia form sounds amazing and is special to see. It’s an event. Seeing an M car or AMG is boring and not special because they have diluted the brand equity. Hard to imagine a modern car under $100k that is more exciting. Closest thing is the Audi RS3.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    Giulia Quadrifoglio is my lottery winnings car.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    And today: https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry-news-corporate/stellantis-boss-pledges-10-year-investment-plan-alfa-romeo

    So Alfa has already been given a chance to waste more billions by Tavares. There’s his main Achilles heel, the only illogical thing I’ve seen him do. Ten more years of high hopes and likely no results. Across a great deal of Europe, Alfa dealerships are utter crud according to my reading forays of websites, which inhibits sales, no matter whether the cars themselves are any good or not. Alfa does NOT have your back, so why bother buying or leasing one?

    As for the Lancia Y10, called the White Hen in Britain, it sells steadily year after year, no matter what. No point chucking away 100K sales a year for a dolled-up Fiat 500 which makes a mean profit and doesn’t look like a demented frog.

    Tavares is one of those bosses like the forgotten Marchionne, an obsessed detail man with three dozen or more direct reports. All he’s doing is stirring the executive pot to see if any of them have any solid ideas at future product plans. If anyone’s is viable, they’ll probably get the chance to prove themselves. As for the US market, who sees the need for any change, anyway? A few vehicles branded Dodge or Chrysler can add incremental sales to the Jeep and RAM elephants for not much outlay. The Pacifica is tooled for EV use when necessary, and the big ole dinosaur Dodge and Chrysler sedans sell to a certain demographic with about zero marginal cost.

    Tavares has already said at least a couple of times he’s not going to inflict French engineering on America. What? You don’t believe that? I do, the man appears not to be stupid, except on Alfa.

  • avatar
    PhilLC

    Opel/Vauxhall already has several cars based on PSA platforms which are performing very well on the market; only the Insignia and Astra are still on GM platforms. The Aatra is already planned for replacement. The new Corsa is outselling the VW Polo by more than 2 to 1 in Germany!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    You might be correct in your assessment of stirring pot. Agree I cannot see Americans flocking to French vehicles–that ship has sailed and now its sunk. Personally I doubt I would ever buy a Stellantis product or a Ford or GM ever again.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    I think everyone is missing the boat here.
    It’s not brands, it’s platforms that count!!

    Platform A: small EV to run volume compacts: Fiat, Opel/Vaux, Pug, Cit
    Platform B: medium EV for sedans & SUV & city van: Masi, Fiat, Dodge Opel/Vaux, Pug, Jeep, Cit, Ram city Van
    Platform C: Medium ICE: premium (Masi, Jeep, Chrys, Pug, DS, Cit, Dodge) & off-road (Jeep, Dodge)
    Platform D: Full frame ICE : Dodge & Ram

    Markets:
    Euro: Fiat, Opel/Vaux, Pug, Masi, Jeep, Cit, DS
    S/A : Fiat, Pug
    N/A : Chrys, Dodge, Ram, Masi, Jeep
    Africa: Pug, Fiat
    China: Pug, Jeep, Masi, DS
    Japan: Jeep, maybe Masi
    India: not worth the cat fight!!
    Rest of the world: Pass!!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The Chrysler-Dodge LX platform cannot go on forever, even with updates.

      It’s been taken as far as it is going to get and slap a Hemi in it isn’t a strategy for long-term success.

      The Chrysler Pacific is based on a Fiat platform.

      From a platform stand point, Chrysler literally has nothing to offer.

  • avatar
    detlump

    Really, if you develop a flexible EV platform, it doesn’t really matter what the body on top of it is – SUV/sedan, pickup. The only differences would be ride height/suspension tuning.

    I don’t see the need at the moment to put any brand out to pasture, just create nice looking vehicles that bolt onto the same basic EV platform. Aside from aerodynamics and weight, each EV can be as fast as any other.

    I’d much rather have an EV Challenger than a blobby Tesla that goes 0-60 in 3 sec.

    With the running gear commoditized, coach builders become relevant again!

  • avatar

    Bringing in to the U.S. French named cars makes no sense. Those who do remember the names also remember their good and bad, the problem is the bad out numbers the good. How many people, outside of Quebec can actually pronounce the names? The German brands have the same problem. Dodge and Opel should develop sedans and station wagons with performance and rear wheel drive. Ram should go back to being Dodges. The smaller trucks can be from anywhere that builds a quality truck or van. Ford has proven you don’t have to keep the “F” moniker to be successful. Chrysler and Citroën should develop the same with the emphasis on luxury with front wheel or 4 wheel drive. A reason why so many people have abandoned sedans and station wagons is they sacrifice too much interior room for sake of style or gas numbers. They don’t really care about how many miles per gallon or why would they go with trucks that give them that room. SUV’s should be left with Jeep. Cute utes could be any brand but must have gone to Jeep, Chrysler or Dodge to be Americanized for their spot in the market. Italians cars are DOA unless they are exotics. The key to all of it is quality and reliability. If they can’t meet the standards, without expensive maintenance , then they will fail.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Geez, people are so quick to kill Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      MyerShift

      @teddyc73 it’s part of an unfortunate and ignorant herd mentality that they suffer from. They aren’t even going to acknowledge the real reasons Chrysler is like it is now. It’s part of a planned, orchestrated, and executed agenda to eliminate what was a former American powerhouse in war time.

  • avatar
    stuckonthetrain

    One reason RAM got split from Dodge was to create a separate brand with monetizable value. There’s an argument that it’s worth more on its own than within Dodge, especially if you ever have to start selling off or killing individual brands. While it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure there’s an action plan at Ford for doing the same with F-series and Mustang, and at GM for trucks and Corvette.

    I can’t speak to Stellantis’ dealer situation outside the US, but the FCA network is middling at best and Mitsubishi-level at worst. A huge part of the Italian brands’ headache is the dealer quality. If Alfa and Maserati got Audi-level – hell, even Volvo-level – dealers, and if FIAT got MINI’s, they’d have a better chance. Even the Italian brands’ Manhattan dealers, which should be quasi-flagships, are disappointing.

    Now, this isn’t the place to debate whether “all the professional Giulia QF reviews were garbage”, but there’s a lot of credence to the theory that most dealers don’t have their act together and that what should have been a 1-visit small issue became 100 days without a car. Maybe FCA dealers have been uniquely under-supported by corporate, compared to other brands? I don’t know. All I’m saying is that the other Euro dealers aren’t “spectacular”, but they are significantly better. And the real-life owner experience tends to track with the quality of the supporting dealer. The folks who buy high-spec Dodges or SRT feel the same way, but that lineup is pretty singular, so those owners have to tolerate it. Most prospective Italian buyers just go German instead.

    We’re an all FCA household (Town & Country and 500c Abarth…and maybe a RAM once the Great Car Shortage of 2021 calms down), so I want to see them thrive. There’s so much interesting product that can result from this merger – exciting stuff we wouldn’t see otherwise – but I honestly this dealer network isn’t cut for it.

  • avatar
    MyerShift

    Tavares, you’ll need to do epically better than Daimler and FIAT did in their ownership of Chrysler Corp. Those two did more to strip, steal, and kill Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth than Chrysler ever did on its own. You’ll actually need to invest in them and not clip their feathers for some precious, money LOSING European baubels.
    You can’t call a company or brands dead WHEN ZERO fricking investment and product has been given to them.
    Put Ram back into DODGE where it belongs. It made ZERO sense to take it out in the first place.
    Chrysler needs to do what Chrysler does best- innovate in times of desperate need.

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