Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FIATY.PK) CEO Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday unveiled the business plan that will formulate the blueprint for operations spanning the next five years. To say that it was telling would be a colossal understatement: It was a deluge of information, spanning all of Fiat Chrysler’s brands from Jeep to Dodge to SRT and more.
Virtually every brand — including Ferrari — will see new models scattered across the next half-decade, and numerous models will be put to rest over the same time frame. Plug-in hybrids will play a role, but not in the way you might think. Needless to say, Fiat Chrysler has a busy few years ahead of it.
The automotive landscape could look drastically different by 2018, and if FCA’s plan is executed well, it’s going to put all other major brands on watch. Check out the following pages to see what the company has in store.
1. Alfa Romeo
It’s hard to tell what the biggest news here is, so we’ll just tackle things alphabetically, and that begins with Alfa Romeo. Firstly, the Italian brand — which will be making a return to the American market — will be reverting to all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive platforms only. The 4C, its highly anticipated roadster-coupe sportscar, will spawn a convertible version and potentially a hotter, higher-octane version down the road.
In all, Alfa is planning eight new vehicles at the end of the day, though it’s unclear as to how many will reach American shores. That will help Alfa Romeo reach its goal of 400,000 sales in 2018, dwarfing the 74,000 units it sold last year. There’ll be a new midsize car slated for next year, but 2016 will be the spotlight year for the brand, which has seven vehicles slated for release.
“The Chrysler brand is not luxury — it’s not premium. Chrysler is the mainstream American brand,” brand CEO Al Gardner said during Tuesday’s presentation. And to help it become the mainstream brand the company wants it to be, there are some big changes on the horizon. There’s going to be a new Town & Country minivan, but get this: it’s going to be a plug-in hybrid. That means that for suburban families that don’t travel more than 20-30 miles per day, there’s a good chance the car’s electric range will cover that before using gas. Combined, Chrysler is aiming for 75 miles per gallon. Odyssey, this is your heads-up.
Gardner is aiming for 800,000 unit sales by 2018, which marks an increase of 350,000 units compared to its 2013 sales results, Autoblog reports. To help define its image later on, a new 100 compact sedan will be introduced in 2016. That’ll go up against the Focus, Corolla, and Civic.
Additionally, the brand is planning a small crossover (that also gets a PHEV option, Jalopnik points out) that will arrive in 2017, and the 300 sedan will get a full makeover that will be introduced at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The crossover will be a crucial vehicle for the brand, as the growth of the segment has been shouldering a lot of the growth of the industry overall.
Perhaps the most dramatic changes at Fiat Chrysler are occurring here. SRT, currently the performance brand that was spun off from a performance sub-brand, will be folded entirely. This means that the SRT Viper is, once again, the Dodge Viper. The Avenger, which hasn’t exactly enjoyed great popularity, is dead. The Grand Caravan is dead, in order to minimize inter-brand competition with the Chrysler Town & Country, but that will help Dodge become the performance line of the group, having absorbed SRT.
The Challenger and Charger will continue as is until 2018, when each receives a full redesign. A new B-segment vehicle will join the range the same year; the Journey, a bit of a laggard in its class at the moment, will be getting the SRT treatment, as well as a full makeover in 2017. A Dart SRT, with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine, will be arriving in 2016 to pursue the WRX- and GTI-loving hot compact enthusiasts.
It’s easy to forget that Ferrari is actually under Fiat Chrysler’s brand umbrella, since the company largely still has a fair amount of autonomy. Breathe easy: No significant changes will grace the prancing-horse brand, and Ferrari enthusiasts will be pleased by Tuesday’s announcements.
Between now and 2018, Ferrari will be launching a new model each year. But this doesn’t mean it’s going for a mainstream bid — production for the brand will be capped at about 7,000 units on an annual basis. Importantly, Marchionne made it a point to indicate that Ferrari was not for sale.
Each model will have a four-year lifespan and will have a modified version with a four-year lifespan after the original run.
The Fiat brand is much more relevant in international markets, and its exposure in the U.S. is still quite small. FCA will retain the 500 and 500L, but the Fiat 500X will also be making a splash, as well as a “specialty” vehicle in 2015. Jalopnik reports that the mystery car will more than likely be the roadster co-developed from the Alfa Romeo-Mazda partnership, even though there was an internal struggle between Fiat and Alfa Romeo as to which company would get the vehicle.
Brace yourselves: To reach its ambitious growth goals, FCA will be relying heavily on the strength of Jeep both in the United States and internationally. After the new Renegade, slated for production later this year, Jeep will be bringing two more models in 2018, including a return of the Grand Wagoneer. Jeep CEO Mike Manley says it’ll be the most premium Jeep ever built and will feature three rows of seating.
The Compass and Patriot will be laid to rest in favor of a new C-segment SUV slated for 2016. The Wrangler will see an overhaul in 2017 — but if FCA’s smart, the company will largely leave the formula intact. No word on the diesel version, though Manley is fighting for it. More on Jeep’s plan here.
Maserati will continue to pursue its performance heritage. The GranTurismo will be adorned with 560 horsepower, the same figure that will be found in the new V8-powered Levante SUV. The Alfieri coupe, which made a splash in concept form earlier this year, is confirmed for production, and will get 520 horsepower as both a coupe and cabrio. The 560-horse power plant will also find its way into the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans; BMW, watch your back.
Ram will see a new carrier in the form of a rebadged Fiat Doblo to take on the new Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200. It will be known Stateside as the 2015 Ram ProMaster City. Other than that, there are some slight refreshes planned for the Ram 1500, but why fix what’s not broken? The Ram brand has shown that it still has plenty of fight left, and it’s smart of Fiat to ride that out.