In a much anticipated presentation of the company's five-year business plan yesterday, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), described the strategy as both "ambitious" and "courageous."
It's unquestionably bold in many respects, not the least the decision to drop the hot-selling (in Canada) Grand Caravan minivan from the Dodge portfolio and an aggressive expansion of Jeep production and projected sales around the world.
The five-year plan is said to serve as a blueprint for growing the new company around the world to boost sales and improve economies of scale, bolster its brand strategy and develop a foundation for how it will meet increasingly strict emissions standards.
Central to FCA's intentions is the doubling of both Chrysler and Jeep sales by 2018. While Chrysler assumes the role of the corporation's mainstream brand in North America, Dodge will become more sports and performance oriented, albeit without sacrificing its current level of sales if all goes as planned.
To that end, both the Viper and SRT nameplates will revert to their origins as Dodge sub-brands. Ralph Gilles, the company's Canadian-raised senior vice president of product design, will give up his added role as head of SRT, but will continue as president and CEO of motorsports.
Alfa Romeo will also get a big brand push, not only with its reintroduction to the North-American market bt on a global basis.
Here's an outline of what to expect from the various FCA brands:
The company has earmarked $7-billion for Alfa Romeo's global expansion, which includes introduction of eight new models, among them one full-size car, one mid-size car and two compact cars plus two utility vehicles.
The beleaguered brand is scheduled to return to North America this year with the 4C sports car and it is collaborating with Mazda on a parallel to the next-generation MX-5.
With the objective of more than doubling sales by 2018, Chrysler will introduce a new minivan – the company's only – for 2016 and it will include a plug-in hybrid model.
The all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan will be joined by a lower-priced 100 model in 2016 and a new full-size CUV in 2017. The latter will also include a plug-in hybrid variant.
Destined to become more sports and performance oriented, Dodge is once again the home for Viper and SRT. The Viper will be refreshed next year.
Further downstream, Durango is due for a refresh in 2017, when a new SRT crossover will also be added.
A new sub-compact sedan and hatchback are also in the frame for 2018.
A new 500X crossover model is in Fiat's plans for North America, as well as another as-yet-unidentified "specialty" model. No other details were provided.
Having just introduced the sub-compact Jeep Renegade for global sale and expanded into China, FCA has big plans for Jeep, including doubling of the brand's sales.
To that end, it plans to expand Jeep production to 10 plants in six countries.
Ram sales continue to soar as the brand closes ground on – albeit still well behind – the Ford F-Series. The company expects sales to increase another third by 2018.
A minor refresh is planned for the light-duty model in 2015 and major redo in 2017.