Recent speculation about Fiat-Chrysler halting development of certain new products has gained some traction. Automotive News is reporting that its sources have confirmed that FCA has delayed plans for an all-new heavy duty Ram pickup and hit the pause button on development of the highly anticipated Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Originally the company was planning to launch a completely new Ram Heavy Duty in 2018, based on the company’s new DT truck platform. Instead, sources are now saying that FCA will instead just offer a refresh of the Ram Heavy Duty on the current DS platform, which has been around since 2010.
Additionally, supplier sources are now saying FCA has put development of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer on hold. If that is the case, this would be a significant development for a very anticipated, likely profitable, product for the Jeep brand. With three rows of seats and high-end finishes, the Grand Wagoneer was allegedly going to have a six-figure price tag.
The news of additional product delays out of FCA is unsurprising. Back in 2014 the company rolled out a comprehensive business plan, outlining product launches for several years. Since then the company has significantly modified its product plans, and delays have plagued nearly every FCA product since. It is worth noting that the 2014 business plan included all-new heavy duty Rams in 2018.
At this time it is unknown why FCA has taken these actions with the Ram and Grand Wagoneer. The company is under pressure to erase about $7 billion in debt that was logged in the third quarter results. CEO Sergio Marchionne has said he plans to retire in 2018 and would like to leave the company on a solid financial footing.
Halting or delaying product programs will likely save FCA cash and potentially aid in their ability to pay down their debt load. Unfortunately for dealers, this will mean the Ram Heavy Duty may not be as competitive against all-new competition and Jeep fans are probably a little less than thrilled with the news on the Grand Wagoneer.
It is not yet clear if FCA has any plans associated with when it will restart development of Grand Wagoneer.