Despite recent rumors, Chrysler will not be discontinued, according to an FCA spokesperson.
Tomorrow, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will lay out a plan for the next five years. Automotive News recently reported about tomorrow’s schedule on a company website, where it looks like some big plans are in the works. Noticeably absent, however, are Chrysler, Fiat and Dodge.
TFL recently reported that Chrysler may soon be discontinued, based on reports that sources close to FCA stated Marchionne would ax the brand in favor of focusing on Jeep and Ram. However, an FCA spokesperson refuted those earlier claims, stating Chrysler will not cease operations. We got this response almost immediately after attempting to contact FCA, and it confirmed that Chrysler will, in fact, be sticking around for the foreseeable future. Tomorrow’s schedule corroborates FCA’s statement. Not only will Marchionne not kill Chrysler, but it seems he won’t mention it at all.
Another enigma surrounding FCA’s five-year plan is Fiat’s place in the United States. Rumors also circulated that Fiat will pull out of the U.S. market altogether. Once again, though, it seems nothing significant is going to happen to the brand immediately, as it’s not on the schedule either.
Finally, there’s Dodge. While the average age of cars across the brand’s lineup is only getting older, its cars will soldier on through the next few years. Dodge still sold nearly 450,000 cars in 2017, as opposed to 26,500 Fiats and 188,500 Chryslers. Models like the Charger and Challenger are still attractive among retail customers, while the Journey and Grand Caravan are popular with fleets. Finally, the Durango, in all its flavors, is a contender in the popular three-row SUV market.
So what is happening, then?
With Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat off the docket, the focus seems to be on Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Not only that, but Marchionne will lay out FCA’s plans for autonomous driving and connectivity, as well as CO2 reduction, in light of recent concerns throughout the industry concerning emissions cheating.
Jeep is a hugely profitable brand in Fiat-Chrysler’s portfolio. Jeep represents the lion’s share of FCA’s profit, based on its wide portfolio of hot-ticket SUVs and crossovers. The Wrangler has broken sales records for the past two months in a row. The Renegade, Compass, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee hit on wildly popular segments, also contributing to the brand’s success. That’s to say nothing of the upcoming Jeep Truck, or models for markets besides the U.S., such as the Chinese Grand Commander.
FCA recently announced a partnership with Waymo, with the latter poised to roll out 62,000 autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Waymo could license its technology and services in turn so FCA can use them in their vehicles. Marchionne stated, “FCA is committed to bringing self-driving technology to our customers in a manner that is safe, efficient and realistic.” More details should come on that during tomorrow’s meeting.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more coverage of FCA’s plans for June 1 and beyond. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views and real-world reviews!