LAS VEGAS -- Fiat Chrysler dealers got their first in-person look at the automaker’s plans to build more SUVs and pickups, and also heard that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart will change, but won’t be going away.
During an hour-long make meeting here, FCA executives including Reid Bigland, head of North American sales, talked about past sales success, but also focused on explaining the company’s planned production shifts, dealers said afterward.
The automaker plans to further expand its Ram and Jeep lineups, including a new pickup based on the Jeep Wrangler and a new family of luxury SUVs that will carry the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer names.
To make room for those products within its existing production footprint, FCA is searching for partners to build the next generation Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans.
“We were told that those [sedans] aren’t going away, but that they’ll be built by someone else,” said Don Lee, president of Lee Auto Malls, which includes two Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram stores in Maine.
Dealers also asked about FCA’s efforts to recruit technicians, given the industry-wide shortage of service personnel. Pietro Gorlier, head of the Mopar brand, told dealers that the ongoing slowdown in the domestic oil industry is having a positive impact on recruiting service personnel.
“Many of our dealers lost service technicians to the oil and gas industry, but now we are starting to see them come back,” Gorlier said after the meeting.