Kevin's Offroad

Kevin's Offroad

Saddle up! Fiat’s plans for Chrysler to appear soon, leaks appearing even sooner
October 26, 10:46 PMSF Autos Examiner Michael Sheena

While many of us eagerly await Fiat’s official plan for Chrysler, which will be announced on November 4, 2009, the Wall Street Journal has taken this opportunity to speculate what will be announced.

Below this article is a slideshow (original link below…slideshow not copied in – Kevin) filled with photos of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products and my thoughts on each of them.

If you guessed that Fiat-based models will pepper the future lineup of Chrysler’s product lineup, then you would be correct. Let’s analyze the WSJ report:

Jeep Commander will be dead next year. Why isn’t it dead already? This thing was a non-starter from day one. I recall viewing some early shots of the Commander when a colleague turned to me and said, “This photo is a hoax, right?” Sadly it was not.

New Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 next year. Both were great vehicles in their time, but is now the time for these vehicles? Current consumer behavior would suggest not.

Increased marketing of the Jeep brand. More marketing is better than less, but I am not sure how much this will help.

Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger and Dodge Nitro die while the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger live. Eventually phase out Dodge Grand Caravan leaving only the Chrysler Town and Country. Most of these changes won’t occur for some time , so don’t look for deals on orphan Caliber’s just yet. Heck, the Caliber just got a new interior. Focusing Dodge as a performance icon makes some sense, but what will replace these bread and butter cars? Also, I understand that you want to de-duplicate the lineup, but the minivan segment is a big deal for the company. Even long term, why would you want to go and mess with its success by cutting back to only the Town and Country? Aren’t Plymouth Voyager owners still licking their wounds?

Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chysler Sebring sedan, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot will be axed. No shocker here, the PT was already saved from the executioner once, it has to be replaced at some point. Sebring and Avenger sedans have been trouble since the get-go for Chrysler. While the Jeep Patriot is passable, the Compass is quite ugly and a detriment to the Jeep brand’s rugged image. Fiat platforms should play well in this space, but 2012 better hurry up and get here.

Fiat 500 arrives in 2011. Can’t arrive too soon! While it won’t sell in huge numbers, it will generate much needed showroom traffic.

Alfa Romeo returns with volume models in 2012. Richie riches have the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione to play with while the rest of us have to wait. Will the wait be worth it?

(Kevin’s Comments: I’m bummed about the Commander.  At 6’4″, I happen to see the value of a larger-sized Jeep for us tall guys, however, if sales aren’t driving the numbers, then I guess it makes a certain amount of sense business-wise. I hate to see it go.  )

Reference: http://www.examiner.com/x-10697-SF-Autos-Examiner~y2009m10d26-Saddle-up–Fiats-plans-for-Chrysler-to-appear-soon-leaks-appearing-even-sooner#