At the beginning of the year, the world found out about a surprising deal by Fiat to buy out Chrysler. This, naturally, caused everyone who pays attention to the auto industry to question what this means for the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models, as well as the parts & service division, Mopar. As the deal starts to sink in with the automaker, plans for changes are already being made.
- Fiat is cutting brand competition from within
- Europe is already missing one key American model
- Decisions have to be made about minivans
- The pressure is on for the new 200
Fiat Eliminating Overlaps
The merger of Chrysler with Fiat is leaving the company wondering how the brand can sustain the production and sale of the now massive lineup — leading the automaker to review the U.S. Chrysler and Dodge brands, and canning plans to introduce a new compact car model under the Chrysler name.
In Europe, the Lancia brand has already gotten trimmer since certain models aren’t getting any traction overseas. The 300 (sold under the Lancia name) has already met its demise across the pound, and the America version could be next. The same also goes for the Town & Country and the 200. Fiat’s ultimate goal is to reduce model overlap amongst the brands.
An example of what they’re considering is how Chrysler has its Town & Country minivan, while Dodge has its Caravan minivan — the models are basically now in competition with each other and one or the other will get the next-generation treatment, not both. There are also lingering questions about where the minivans will be built moving forward. The final decision on the new generation minivan model is expected to happen during this quarter.
Fiat’s Wait & See
So, then there’s the 200, a new version of this model was recently revealed at the Detroit Auto Show, and it seems like it’s officially getting its last chance in the brand. The pressure is on for this model to perform well with the new design, otherwise it’s likely on the chopping block next. It’s little brother, the 100 was cancelled before release because it competes with the Dodge Dart, and people were underwhelmed with the styling when it was reviewed.
In addition to the cuts, you can also expect to see some new models as a result of the merger. No specifics are being offered, but Fiat is probably going to take more time adding models than they are cutting them out. It would be smart to see how the market responds to the acquisition and how well current models are going to perform before trying to fill any gaps in the lineups.
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