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?
Both Alfa and Maserati should be sold to Ferrari, with a licence to use the PSA platforms and base engines, (allowed to develop them and send back other way).
Chrysler should be the American/China sub premium brand competing with Buick, VW. They should focus on a full range of cars, again use the EMP2 platform as the main chassis.
Dodge should align themselves as a Chevrolet competitor just like in the article. Plenty of platforms to work with, they also use the Vauxhall, Opal and Holden branding for the same products across the world.
FIAT attack MINI as a premium small car brand, while bringing back Lancia as the premium mainstream brand, aiming at BMW. There has already been a lot of designs floating about.
JEEP should be really move more premium level like Land Rover, leaving entry level SUV to Dodge.
RAM should also become a global brand instead of FIAT professional combining with PSA brands in this area.
As for the PSA brands, Citroen seem to have found a niche as stylish vehicles again and should continue with this styling. Peugeot have an opportunity to move into the technological look, aiming at Audi as a point of difference to Lancia. Both similar price ranges and products, but styling creates a difference.
As for DS, not sure if this will survive. The brand just seems too glitzy for premium tastes.
I own 5 Chryslers. Why they didn’t just update the previous version of Pacifica which sold really well and had it’s niche in CUV for north America and Europe, introduce mexico neon into US and Europe, Why in any reason get rid of Journey or Grand Caravan=Update or improve yes and easily with new technologies but they are shooting themselves in foot more than ever. Then there’s the Viper. Badly promoted when could stand up to luxury muscle across the world. They needed to rework the mechanics of PT Cruiser not just drop because poor power performance when it sold incredibly well, never releasing the Chrysler 100 hatchback or again improving the 200/Avenger whom with better quality and performance could have truly held their own in the small to midsize market. I get less models less overall cost but between these poor decisions and 80% reduction in dealerships prior to pandemic this is bottom line why Chrysler and FCA hasn’t stayed competitive. Yes sales in Dodge are good but charger and challenger can’t keep it viable. Now theres the huge theft ring of those cars as well. FCA please think about improving quality and performance not simply dropping models. Prowler needed improved body panels and simply a better engine which Chrysler has. Huge seller with right mechanics giving Chrysler a muscle niche besides 300 SRT.
Dodge should have 8 models=
Challenger, Charger, Journey, Viper, Durango, Neon, Avenger and especially Grand Caravan!
Chrysler should have 7 models=
300, Town and Country, 100, 200, Voyager, PT or(Prowler) and Pacifica(cuv) =SPORTY LUXURY like Cadillac, BMW, Acura
Like most car companies frames and powerplants shared across the board and reworking body panels inside and out especially with nicer quality and improved performance isn’t going to cost millions of dollars when baseline is already available. Just implementing these changes for the greater good. You cannot increase sales, compete in each category or grow sales with 5 models across 2 brands.
You knew the management at FCA was lacking when they allowed Penske to escape to Ford because they wouldn’t offer a 7 year deal which would promote their Dodge lineup yet they consider themselves performance orientated but no exposure in NASCAR You don’t allow the premier team to leave over terms