FCA is one of the OEMs with the highest number of brands in its range. The group offers 8 different passenger car brands around the world which include city-cars, big trucks, SUVs, MPVs and sedans. However, it is also one of the OEMs with the lowest number of models available per brand.
Too many brands, very few models
Dodge, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo and Lancia are reduced to lineups that in the best of the case (Dodge) are composed by three models only; it is not only Fiat the brand facing this problem. First, it was Lancia, which was confined in Italy with only one model; then came Chrysler, which has been surviving with two models since 2017. Alfa Romeo recently discontinued the Mito, Giulietta and 4C, leaving the Giulia/Stelvio as the only models available.
The latest announcement about the Journey and Caravan, which will disappear soon, leaves Dodge with only three models – Charger, Challenger and Durango. Unlike the other three brands, Dodge is still an important division for FCA. Its sales counted for 11% of FCA’s global total in 2019.
Dodge is still an important brand in USA-Canada, where its sales counted for 2.5% of total market. Without the Caravan and Journey, the brand is removing its first and third best-selling models, or 46% of its volume.
When a new Chrysler?
Chrysler has been waiting for new products since mid-2016, when the Pacifica was introduced. Few months later, production of the Chrysler 200 ended Sterling Heights Assembly plant, leaving the brand with only two models. A lot has been announced regarding new products, but the reality is quite different.
The Chrysler 300 is very old, and the Pacifica is due to see lower sales this year following the arrival of the new generation Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona. Without anything new, Chrysler faces uncertain times as a brand.
The figure below shows how Chrysler used to innovate with new products like the Crossfire, old Pacifica, and the successful Voyager/Town & Country. Very few of that passion is left.
Alfa Romeo in dire need of Tonale
After the relaunch of the brand initiated in 2016 with the introduction of the Giulia, Alfa Romeo is once again facing tough times due to a reduced lineup. The management didn’t work on an immediate replacement of the Mito and Giulietta, so the Giulia and Stelvio have to fight alone.
As usual, the brand continues to make several announcements about the coming products, but nothing arrives. The Alfa Romeo Tonale won’t hit the market before H2 2021, so by that time, the biscione will be in a very difficult situation.
During the last 30 years, Alfa Romeo has lost ground faster than any other premium brand. This is particularly evident in the lineup size compared to its German rivals. #Audi, for instance, had a poor range of products back in the 80-90’s. In contrast, #AlfaRomeo was a referent in the hatchback, sedan and sport segments. This started to charge in the early 00’s, when Audi accelerated the expansion of its sedan lineup and brought its first SUV in 2005. Meanwhile, the beautiful Alfa Romeo’s faced quality problems (166, 159, GT) that damaged its image. In addition, it took 12 years more than Audi to introduce its first SUV. The result? Audi sells 20 times more than Alfa Romeo. Sad.
Will Tavares solve this?
Mr. Tavares has a big task as the new CEO of Stellantis. Usually, more is better, but in the case of the new group, having 3 brands playing in the premium market can be tricky and difficult to manage. Alfa Romeo, Maserati and DS may not be direct rivals, but they all play in a segment that is very competitive and is totally dominated by the Germans.
Carlos Tavares is known by its ability to revive companies by costs cuts. Does Stellantis have too many starving brands? will he keep them all? what about electrification, the pandemic, and the coming CO2 emissions targets?