Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is studying whether to build a large Ram SUV to compete with the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition.
CEO Sergio Marchionne, speaking during a conference call today to discuss the company’s third-quarter financial results, said a potential large SUV was possible because of the planned redesigns of Ram’s pickups.
The large SUV segment is “the near-exclusive use of some others. We have a reasonable chance of getting at least part of that market,” Marchionne said.
A large SUV would be a first for Ram since it was calved from Dodge in 2009. Ram was separated in part to distinguish its pickups and commercial vehicles from passenger-centric Dodge vehicles and to establish brand identity.
Marchionne said that as Ram redesigns its light- and heavy-duty pickups and is able to add production, it has room for such a vehicle.
“I think we have a unique opportunity with renewal of the pickup line, with the powertrains we selected, to significantly increase output,” he said. “We will also be exploring, as a result of that investment, some other segments.”
A Ram SUV wouldn’t compete with a planned three-row Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Marchionne said. The Grand Wagoneer -- whose development has been delayed until 2019 -- would be a luxury vehicle that competes with offerings from Range Rover, Marchionne said.
“I don’t think anybody who buys a large SUV is confusing it with a Range Rover,” he said.
Marchionne said he planned to provide an update to FCA’s product plan, unveiled in May 2014, early next year.