Change of Plans for Chrysler Group, will Eliminate Duplicate Models, Hints at U.S. Market Delta ~ Greatest Vehicles

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Change of Plans for Chrysler Group, will Eliminate Duplicate Models, Hints at U.S. Market Delta

The product plan brewing continues over at the Fiat Group – Chrysler LLC alliance. Following the recent news on the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands, the group's CEO Sergio Marchionne offered new details on Chrysler LLC's strategy.
In an interview with Automotive News, Marchionne said that the company has revised its Project Genesis plan, which was put in place in 2008 when Chrysler was still under the ownership of Cerberus Capital Management.
The two key elements of the Genesis plan are merging the dealerships of all four Chrysler group brands, including Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram under one roof, (with only a few exceptions), and abolishing duplicate products that are the result of badge-engineering such as the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger, and the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
In regards to the first part of the plan, Marchionne said that as of last week, 90 percent of Chrysler's 2,324 U.S. dealerships were selling all four brands of the group.
The second part of the plan will see Chrysler LLC eliminating double entries.

"We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid," said Marchionne. "We're not going to create the confusion and conflict in the showroom."
As a result, in the future, the group will offer just one minivan, the Chrysler Town & Country, and one mid-size sedan, the Chrysler 200's replacement that may or may not keep the same name.
Dodge will replace the Grand Caravan minivan and Avenger sedan with a single mid-size crossover model in 2013. The next Chrysler 200 and the Dodge mid-size crossover will be built on a common Fiat platform.
"A crossover is more in line for Dodge to cover that segment than it is for anybody else to cover that segment," Marchionne said.
In addition, Dodge will also offer a smaller, compact-size crossover due sometime in 2014, as well as a compact-size four-door sedan model to replace the Caliber and which is scheduled to be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2012
Marchionne told Autonews that the Chrysler brand will sell a "sort of hatchback" based on the same underpinnings as the Dodge compact sedan and which will be sold in Europe as a Lancia, something that hints at the Delta (either in its current form or a redesigned version).

Finally, the Chrysler and Fiat Group CEO revealed that despite an earlier announcement in November 2009 about the development of a new line of Fiat-based subcompact models to rival the likes of the Chevrolet Sonic, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta, the company will not go ahead with this plan.

"Our assessment has been that subcompacts would have limited purview," said Marchionne noting that the company is still considering an introduction in Canada and Mexico, but not the U.S.
"I can introduce them in Canada and Mexico [sourced from] other places in the world, but I would never center the U.S. as being the single largest driver of volumes. It won't happen."
Story References: Automotive News 


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