Chrysler’s Short-Term Product Plan

Holding the fort down until the Fiat cavalry rides to the rescue

Brendan Moore

11.05.2009

Chrysler logo smallAlmost all of Chrysler’s cars will be Fiats by 2014, according to the final version of the Chrysler five-year plan released earlier today, but what is Chrysler going to sell until those new platforms show up?

Indeed, what are they going to sell?

Chrysler (read, Fiat) has a plan.

Strongest brand first:

Jeep gets a new 2011 Grand Cherokee in May, 2010. This next-generation Grand Cherokee has been in the pipe for quite awhile, so Fiat will have very little to do with it over the next seven months.

The Patriot and Compass crossovers get a mild refresh next year. The Wrangler small SUV gets a cosmetic refresh in 2010 and a new interior and some mechanical upgrades in 2011.

In 2013, the Jeep Patriot goes away and is replaced by a small SUV based on a Fiat small car platform. Jeep also gets two new crossovers that same year, one based on the Fiat Panda, and one on a new platform.

Dodge trucks are well-regarded by the Fiat brass, and there is a considerable amount of support to push an expansion of the Dodge Ram brand into commercial-size trucks. Dodge Ram will also get existing (and well-regarded) small and large commercial vans from Fiat, renamed as Dodge Rams.

The Ram pickup truck will continue on with minor revisions until the next generation. Dakota goes away in 2011.

Dodge cars see updates in 2010, including a redesign of the Dodge Charger, and a refresh of the Journey and Avenger. A new full-size crossover based on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee shows up next year as well.

In 2012, the Caliber goes away and is replaced by a new car on a platform already in the pipeline. In 2013, the Avenger goes away and is replaced by both a small and mid-sized car based on a Fiat platform. In 2014, the new Grand Caravan arrives.

The Chrysler brand (as opposed to the Chrysler company) car line sees the estimable Sebring get a much-needed new interior, as well as just-as-needed power and suspension improvements in 2010. The 2011 Chrysler 300 gets a redesign and shows up in 2010. A completely new compact sedan makes its debut in 2012. A new small car, based on a Fiat platform, will make its appearance in 2013. A new mid-size car will replace the Sebring, and a new mid-size crossover will also make an appearance.

In 2014, the new Town and Country minivan joins its new Grand Caravan twin as both vehicles debut in their next generation iteration.

So, that’s the plan; the plan that Chrysler (read, Fiat) says will take them from 950,000 unit sales to 2 million units by 2014, when most of the Chrysler cars and a couple of the trucks will be on a Fiat platform. Chrysler states that 56% of Chrysler vehicles will be on Fiat platforms by then, which sounds about right, considering the mix between cars and trucks in the Chrysler lineup.

Its an aggressive plan, considering the market conditions, the competition and Chrysler’s recent plunge in sales and reputation, but Fiat thinks it is feasible given Chrysler’s new management.

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, was nothing if not relentlessly positive these past two days while coordinating the public presentation of the five-year plan, although at the same time cautioning against expecting “miracles” in terms of Chrysler’s revitalization, and it is obvious he believes Chrysler will thrive once the Fiat hardware shows up in the cars.

But, Chrysler needs some buyers back in the fold before then, and they’re going to have to get those buyers with current product that’s been warmed-over – at least for the next 24 months, anyway.

It is an open question whether they can generate enough sales in this fashion to stay on plan, and only the passage of time will give us the answer.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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13 Comments

  1. I hope they can pull this off. It is amazing that all of the auto companys are going to sell 2 Million ++ units in a couple of years though. I guess we will all be able to buy a new car then?

  2. high hopes, but as long as they can hold on til the new cars show up

  3. I think their short-term plan must include a lot of praying.

  4. It’s awfull but also very fascinating if you ever dream of running a car company.

  5. First the French, then the Germans, and now, sakes alive, the Italians have bought Chrysler. Maybe the third time’s the charm.

    I’m starting to think that Chrysler is the automotive equivalent of the beautiful but dumb girl that a guy can’t resist taking home, but after a couple of dates you just can’t stand her any more.

  6. Carry in MI, the French only buyed former Chrysler subsdiairies in Europe (Simca and Rootes who was buyed by Peugeot-Citroen) and Renault owned majorly AMC in the last years before they sell them to Chrysler.

  7. Jeep actually gets an increase in product, albeit just one model. At least they do if I’ve got the math right.

  8. The Jeep Compass and the Chrysler Sebring live on in the Chrysler portfolio, and that’s all I need to know about whether or not they’re going to make it.

  9. I just can’t see enough sales from this product line, just can’t see it.

  10. From the holdover Chrysler products is what you meant, right? I can see sales from the Fiat cars.

  11. What a pile of reheated crap this will be.

  12. I wonder how they will tweak a car like the Sebring.

  13. Which Chrysler had a worse lineup for it’s time, the current one or the Chrysler that existed after the bailout in the Eighties?

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