Last week Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spilled its guts with its new five-year plan. While rumors suggested the company may announce the minimization or elimination of the Chrysler brand, that didn’t happen. Instead, there was simply no mention of Dodge or Chrysler at the event.
Despite the silence, neither brand is apparently dying. A new report from AutoCar suggests the Chrysler name will hang around for specific duty: as a mobility brand. It’s a specific role for the brand that actually makes some sense given FCA’s tie-up with Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car project.
FCA and Waymo have announced plans for FCA to provide up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica models as Waymo ramps up its own self-driving ride sharing program. Waymo alone may be enough of a customer to justify Chrysler’s continued existence.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne made a brief mention of the two U.S. brands during the five-year plan rollout.
“Dodge needs to continue the particular space as a performance brand, and we need to continue to build on that core skill. The minivan business space will be filled by Chrysler, filling the mobility solution in the US market.”
“Those two brands are not in question but they’re local NAFTA brands, and need to be developed for local market conditions. Our view is that 70 percent of the US market is already non-sedan, so to try and build traditional sedans is not helpful. Brands like Dodge can play a role there because of their performance heritage.”
Today’s Chrysler brand is comprised of only the 300 sedan and Pacifica minivan. Marchionne has hinted that even the 300 may not return when its Dodge siblings, the Charger and Challenger, are remodeled.