It may feasibly happen, as the Chrysler brand has lingered on with just two nameplates.
We’ve been wondering why we keep seeing the supposedly Chinese-market Jeep Grand Commander testing on U.S. streets. Perhaps that won’t be the case, according to an Allpar article. According to unnamed sources, it’s feasible this three-row SUV could join Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. ranks under the Chrysler banner.
It makes sense, frankly, given the state of the company’s current lineup. The aging Chrysler 300 really is living on borrowed time. The Pacifica is a remarkable follow-up to the long-lived Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country marques, but it isn’t a strong enough seller to carry the brand on its own. Speaking of the Grand Caravan, there’s the question of Dodge. Yes, there are more offerings than over at Chrysler. However, the brand as a whole continues to age — particularly the three-row Journey. If FCA were to bring the Grand Commander over as a U.S.-market model, it would let them finally put the Journey out to pasture.
Back in June, the company’s five-year plan did include the Grand Commander as part of a global product lineup. That could mean while the model is exclusive to China right now, it could expand beyond that market by 2022. However, with the Grand Wagoneer’s supposed return, it doesn’t make much sense to market the Grand Commander as a Jeep, were they to bring it to the U.S. Nor does it make much sense to brand it as a Wagoneer, since Fiat Chrysler surely knows U.S. car shoppers wouldn’t buy it if they knew it was re-badged Chinese model.
Really, anything could happen at this point, but this rumor does make sense on some levels. Chrysler needs a newer, fresher model in their lineup, and crossovers sell. Dodge can then kill the Journey (mind you, it also has the Durango) without leaving a gap in FCA’s market coverage, and focus more on its performance models. It also allows Jeep to focus more on its off-road reputation. It would be a tough sell to ask people to buy the Grand Commander in the same vein as their other models, especially taking the Wagoneer’s return into account. While the Commander did initially sell after its introduction in 2005, sales quickly dropped off. So that name is more or less played out in this market, while the Wagoneer nameplate is ripe for Jeep’s revival.
Will Chrysler ultimately carry a three-row SUV as a mainstream model? Again, it’s just a rumor at this point, but we could see it happening.