In the aftermath of FCA’s big investor presentation, we find ourselves going down a familiar road.
First, let’s get Fiat out of the way. One of the two FCA namesake brands, Fiat is being downsized to the 500 and Panda, except in Latin America, which also gets the Tipo/Neon. Sergio Marchionne has said many times that Fiat would only make profitable cars, and apparently those are the ones making a profit. Going electric and/or hybrid instead of diesel fits with general trends — and uses tech from the Pacifica, Wrangler, and Ram hybrids.
Chrysler and Dodge are mainly being restricted to North America, which in some ways is old news. It was a nice idea to raise Chrysler prices and call them Lancias, but nobody bought the cars or the rebadged Chrysler Voyager. Someday, FCA may revisit exporting Dodge or Chrysler, but the can’s been kicked down the road — just as it was with Lancia.
Jeep is continuing its Daimler-era journey into non-Jeepy vehicles; it was a stroke of genius to create the DesertHawk, specialized 2020 vehicles for sand-running, though the urban ’Hawk seems questionable. Outside of North America, Jeep’s off-road worthiness is to be reserved to the Wrangler and any Trailhawks that may appear. In short, the Wrangler is “old Jeep” — and possibly the only one — in a plan that began during Daimler.
Ram is going international, as I reported on Allpar for at least the last two years. The trend has been for Ram to join and replace Fiat Commercial.
We got two treats, the Hellcat-powered Ram TRX and an Alfa Romeo 8C with 700 horsepower from hybrid AWD. That’s exciting, but not very exciting for me, since it’ll come with a price tag to match. There’s also the “new Dodge Dakota,” which I’ve been predicting ever since the Mitsubishi L200 (Fiat Fullback/Ram 1200) became untenable for the long term. I also reported (as was confirmed) that the new pickup will be built in Mexico, replacing some or all big Ram production; the emphasis will be on sales outside the US.