Fiat Chrysler dealers meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday were wowed by a parade of new products coming to their dealerships, including a Dodge Barracuda convertible and a swoopy next-generation Dodge Charger said to resemble a popular 1999 concept designed by Tom Gale.
Also in the mix, the next-generation Jeep Wrangler that, according to one dealer, “stays pretty true to its current form,” as well as a Jeep Grand Wagoneer luxury SUV with seating for eight.
The long-rumored Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Track Hawk -- which is to be powered by FCA’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V-8 engine -- also was shown. Dealers were told that the all-wheel-drive Track Hawk would have a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. Not shown was a Jeep Wrangler-based pickup.
The dealer meeting, which was closed to the media, took place at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It included addresses from FCA’s multiple brand heads as well as remarks by CEO Sergio Marchionne.
The Barracuda convertible and next-generation Dodge Charger will be based on the flexible rear-wheel-drive platform designed for the return of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which was first shown in Italy in June. It is part of FCA’s roughly $6 billion investment to resurrect and grow the Alfa Romeo brand to 400,000 units worldwide by 2018.
An Alfa Romeo SUV based on the platform was also shown to dealers.
Several dealers, speaking anonymously, were told that they would see as many as 30 new or refreshed products on their lots within the next two years. The next-generation Charger was especially well-received by dealers, dealers told Automotive News.
Also shown to dealers were coming Alfa Romeo and Maserati models, as well as a regular and Abarth performance version of the Mazda-made Fiat 124 Spider.
In his remarks, Marchionne sought to allay fears about how his call for industry consolidation would affect auto retailers, including FCA’s 2,600 dealerships in the United States.
He said efforts to merge FCA with another automaker was “not a slash-and-burn strategy.” Marchionne also assured dealers that a potential merger would not impact its brands, would not reduce the size of its manufacturing workforce and “does not require a rationalization of the distribution network.”
A potential merger, Marchionne said, “will not have an impact” on dealers, but instead will create a way “to strengthen the competitive position of the companies involved.”
Dealers gave Marchionne a standing ovation.