Chrysler bolsters plan for Fiat, Alfa in U.S.
Dodge, Chrysler brands won't get Europe-assembled small cars
The Fiat 500L -- Chrysler's revised product plan calls for the automaker to significantly add to its lineup of Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles in the United States in 2015 and 2016.
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DETROIT -- Chrysler Group has dropped plans to add two small cars each to its Chrysler and Dodge brands this year, according to a revised product plan revealed by the automaker today.
The original plan called for the cars to be assembled by Fiat in Europe.
But at the same time, more small cars are coming to Fiat dealers in the United States. The revised plan calls for the automaker to significantly add to its lineup of Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles in the United States in 2015 and 2016.
The information was released in a planning document that did not identify nameplates or their segments. The document, which spells out the product plan through 2016, updates Chrysler's five-year North American product outlook that it presented in November 2009.
In a conference call, CEO Sergio Marchionne and CFO Richard Palmer discussed the document in general terms but provided few specifics.
"The only thing I can tell you is that we continue to rework the portfolio to meet profit demands going forward," Marchionne said.
He made the comment in a discussion of how an extensive overhaul of the Jeep Grand Cherokee for 2014 was more expensive than originally planned.
"The amount of intervention and the size of the intervention on that vehicle is staggering," he said.
The new plan discloses the addition of seven new vehicles for the Fiat brand in 2015 and 2016. It's not clear, though, whether the vehicles will be new nameplates or versions of current vehicles. Fiat dealers in the United States now sell the 500, which has various versions and trims.
"Yes, we're reintroducing the Fiat brand to the U.S., but it's going to be reintroduced in a selective way," Marchionne said. The Fiat brand will branch out into other segments, but will not have broad representation in the marketplace, he said.
Meanwhile, a single Alfa Romeo, believed to be the 4C sports coupe, arrives this year. The plan says Alfa will get five new previously undisclosed vehicles in 2015 and 2016. Marchionne said each of the brands will have distinct characters, to avoid nameplate overlap in crowded Chrysler Group showrooms.
Here are the proposed changes for the group's other brands:
Chrysler: Three Chrysler vehicles that were to be assembled by Fiat in Italy in 2012 and 2013 were dropped from the previously released plan. One existing Chrysler vehicle -- the 200 sedan -- will be redesigned in 2014. Three new or redesigned vehicles are to arrive for the brand in 2015, including a Town & Country minivan that may or may not have sliding doors, Marchionne said.
Jeep: The addition of a small Jeep to be assembled by Fiat has been delayed one year until 2014. Two new or redesigned Jeep vehicles will be introduced in 2015, including what is expected to be the seven-passenger Grand Wagoneer. The brand will refresh two of its products in 2016, one of which is believed to be the Wrangler.
Ram: A Fiat-built Ram -- likely a rebadged Fiat Doblo small commercial van -- has been delayed two years from the previous product plan and will appear in 2014. Two new or redesigned Rams are now scheduled to appear in 2016.
Marchionne: Seven new unannounced vehicles for the Fiat brand in 2015 and 2016.
Dodge: While two previous Fiat-produced Dodge vehicles have been dropped, three existing vehicles in the brand will receive previously unscheduled refreshes, one this year and two in 2014. The Dodge Grand Caravan will get a new platform in 2015, and the brand will add or redesign a yet-to-be identified vehicle in 2016.
SRT: The Viper, released last year, will next be refreshed in 2015. But Chrysler Group's performance brand won't get another new vehicle exclusive to it until 2016. But three SRT vehicles sold under other brands will be refreshed in 2014.
Click here for Marchionne's entire presentation.
You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at email@example.com.