Chrysler group may follow Fiat Europe’s strategy of delaying the arrival of new models waiting for better economic conditions. Even if US car market doesn’t face the difficult times of European one, Chrysler is thinking of extending life of a big part of its current range of products. According to The Detroit News, 3 of the cars that should be replaced in the coming months, will have to wait more time till the new generation arrives. The newspaper refers to the Dodge Avenger, the Grand Caravan, and the Jeep Wrangler. The reason for this surprising decision may be related to the cash needed by the company to face European crisis and complete the purchase of Chrysler by Fiat Spa. However, the company hasn’t confirmed this version yet.
Since Fiat bought the first 20% of Chrysler shares in 2009, the American company has launched only 4 all-new models, the Dodge Dart, Durango and Viper, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The company updated many others, but at the end, the range of products hasn’t changed too much compared to the pre-crisis range. Currently there are many models a bit aged that should be replaced as soon as possible in order to gain or maintain market share. Chrysler brand offers 3 models, and the most recent one is the Town & Country, presented in 2008. Dodge’s latest product is the Viper, introduced in late 2012, and before there was the Dart in June 2012, and the Journey, presented in 2009. Jeep launched the Grand Cherokee in 2011, and before that there was the presentation of the Cherokee/Liberty back in 2008. Of course, this analysis doesn’t include the restylings, as these are not considered new generations (not even the Chrysler 200, which is a result of a deep restyling of the Sebring). By the time Fiat arrived in Chrysler life, it was quite understood that new cars had to wait for their release, as the company was dealing with its bankruptcy.
But now, 4 years after the successful marriage and lots of profits, it is time for new cars. That’s particularly true when it is considered the good times the US market is having now, and the opportunity Chrysler is losing because of not having fresh products. The group has been able to increase its market share mainly thanks to its SUV/Minivan range. While Ford and GM strengthened their passenger cars range, with the ultimate big sedans full of interesting technologic features and appealing design. That’s why hearing from this source that a new Avenger will have to wait till 2015 for its presentation, reminds me the same strategy Fiat is using in Europe, which may be saving a lot of money, but is forcing it to leave many important segments where it used to be an important player. Chrysler shouldn’t emulate it.
Source: Automotive News