This Friday, June 1, the head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Sergio Marchionne, will lead a meeting of the group’s investors. What the FCA boss says at that meeting, taking place in Balocco, Italy, could have dire consequences for one of the most iconic brands in the history of the automobile.
In fact, Automotive News journalist Larry P. Vellequette, a specialist in matters relating to FCA, has written that one of his European colleagues learned from a reliable source that Sergio Marchionne will announce the end of the Chrysler banner when he speaks to FCA shareholders.
The Chrysler brand made its debut back in 1925.
Big as that announcement would be, it’s not the only one that will cause a stir at the Balocco meeting. The big boss of the Italian-American conglomerate might also use the occasion to confirm that Fiat will be pulled from the North American and Chinese markets, and focus instead on Europe, Brazil and emerging markets.
These moves would allow the company to free up considerable sums of money that could then be invested at Jeep, the FCA Group’s most profitable banner. That division is apparently planning a new small SUV that would slide under the Renegade in its lineup, and we know that a revived Grand Wagoneer is also in the works.
As for Alfa Romeo and Maserati products, they could be grouped together under one single banner. This is a decision that seems to make complete sense, at least more so than carrying two divisions that both produce sports cars.
For sure, this Friday’s meeting could well end up being quite a historic event, and in more than one way. Remember that the decisions announced there represent the last major ones made under the rule of Sergio Marchionne, who is set to retire from the FCA Group next year.
As for Chrysler, the news, if confirmed, will be a difficult pill to swallow for fans of automobiles; it’s easy to imagine company founder Walter P. Chrysler turning in his grave. From a cold-hearted perspective, however, the move is understandable. The current Chrysler lineup consists of precisely two models: the aging 300 sedan and the Pacifica minivan.
Logically, the latter model would find a new home at Dodge.