This past Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne, unveiled his latest, and last, five-year plan for the company’s banners. The 65-year-old executive’s imminent departure was enough in itself to take the presentation beyond the realm of the routine. But the contents of the announcements were also far-ranging and highly consequential, for Alfa Romeo, Jeep and RAM, as well as others.
But while five-year plans were laid out for each FCA brand, there were two exceptions: Chrysler and Dodge.
This may seem like anything but reassuring news for FCA’s two old American banners. But in their case, no news was actually good news. Rumours had been swirling that the nameplates were on the chopping block.
Turns out, not quite.
After presenting his five-year plans, Marchionne took the time to answer questions from a few automotive reporters, including those from British magazine Autocar. To them, he revealed what lays ahead for the two brands.
"Dodge needs to continue the particular space as a performance brand, and we need to continue to build on that core skill. The minivan business space will be filled by Chrysler, filling the mobility solution in the US market."
- FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne
The exec also recognized that the two divisions would continue to be present in North America, but would need to adapt to the demands of this market. Which, translated, clearly means we’ll be seeing more SUVs and fewer cars from them.
“Our view is that 70% of the US market is already non-sedan, so to try and build traditional sedans is not helpful. Brands like Dodge can play a role there because of their performance heritage."
- Sergio Marchionne
Autocar reports that Chrysler will be adding a new model, though that is not confirmed. If so, it won’t be a car. As for the Pacifica, FCA wants to be able to sell units equipped with the autonomous driving technology developed by Waymo, a firm specialized in the technology and which is present throughout North America.
And Dodge in all that? As we mentioned, it will play the performance card; but stay tuned as we’ll be looking in some more detail at what lies ahead for the brand.