Ok, so this is really just a repeat of my Jalopnik comments from last week, but I wanted a chance to reiterate in public what I see as the clear vision for where FIAT and Sergio Marchionne are planning on taking Chrysler in Wednesday’s announcement. I may be completely wrong, but that’s what blogs nobody reads are for.
It’s already been leaked which cars are coming over from Italy and what cars are being killed, and based on that breakdown, here’s how I see things shaking out. Honestly, if it plays out at all like this, I’m kind of excited by it.
Chrysler: Bigger/American traditional. 300C, Minivans, probably a new larger sedan (maybe Alfa 166 based) to replace the appalling Sebring. 500 will be badged a Fiat or an Abarth, so even though it will sit next to them on the showroom floor, it won’t really figure into the overall image.
Possible cross-branding or cross-pollinating with Lancia for additional volume savings.
Dodge: Sporty retro Americana. What Pontiac should’ve been instead of killed. Muscle cars, V8s, agressive styling. Nothing Italian in sight. The hardcore American product that the “heartland” can get behind.
Ram: Trucks, man. By separating out the trucks à la GMC, Chrysler gains a truck division with some instant credibility and maybe some sales in Europe.
Jeep: Real Jeeps. Not the soft-roader crap they’ve been pushing recently. Very much like an affordable Land Rover alternative. I see them bringing Jeep back to Europe so they don’t have to muddle Alfa Romeo’s brand with SUVs.
Alfa Romeo: Affordable small sporty cars. VW/Audi killer. 3 hatchbacks and a small sedan doesn’t say luxury. I think they don’t want to overlap with Dodge here, so they’re staying small.
That’s how I see it, and it makes a lot of sense. I think that we’re likely to see Chrysler/500/Jeep dealers, Dodge/Ram dealers and probably separate Alfa Romeo dealerships. And I’ll be waiting when the doors open to get my piece of the Marchionne pie.