Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, revealed a revised North American strategy for the brand, finally inverting plans after months of diverting rumors. The plan includes more trucks and less cars, a new partnership, and fewer Alfa Romeos—oh, and it’s based on the belief that cheap gas will last forever.
Fiat Chrysler is no different than you or I when it comes to loving the current cheap prices of gasoline. The automaker conglomerate loves cheap gas so much it’s hinging its entire future on the contingency that gas will stay relatively cheap for, and I’m practically quoting the CEO here, basically forever.
The new business plan, announced by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne today, calls for a slow-down on Alfa Romeo’s reinvention as well as an expansion of Jeep and the other Fiat Chrysler brands’ truck, CUV, and SUV lineups. Why not? Gas will be cheap, forever! Or not.
Additionally, rather than dropping eight new Alfa Romeo models by 2018, we can now expect the hot new Giulia sedan to go into production this March, followed by a mid-size SUV in 2017. The other six promised Alfa models—two CUV or SUV models, two specialty models, a hatchback, and a full-size sedan—will all come sometime by 2020.
Fiat Chrysler also plans to let the current Chrysler 200 compact sedan, which is hated by Chrysler itself, and the Dodge Dart “run their course” before turning to a partnership for development of the next generation models or replacements. It has been speculated that Mitsubishi would be a prime candidate as Fiat Chrysler handles the Japanese automaker’s distribution in Mexico. But who knows—Marchionne is always looking to shack up with other industry players.
Hinging all bets on indefinite low gas prices, Fiat Chrysler seeks to grow Jeep internationally up to 2 million annual sales by 2018, with two years of manufacturing expansion to fill the gap from 2015's 1.2 million international sales. Jeep’s plans of introducing a diesel and hybrid Wrangler, as well as a Wrangler truck, by 2020 will surely aid that growth.
As previously mentioned, we can expect Fiat Chrysler’s other brands—Fiat, Dodge, and Chrysler—to all expand upon current CUV, SUV, and truck offerings.
You’re hot then you’re cold, Sergio. Just give us Alfa Romeo in all it’s glory already.