The first part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year product plan has emerged at the automaker’s Balocco proving grounds near Turin, Italy, where company brass detailed the near future of four key brands: Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati.
Yes, no mention of Chrysler, Dodge, or Fiat. They’ll get to that later this morning (is there a bell tolling for one or more of those brands, at least in America? Stay tuned…)
What we know at this point is that the company has no plans to back away from its goal of dominating the globe with the Jeep brand. There’s more SUVs coming — plenty of them, and hybrids, too. For North American truck buyers, a dedicated off-road variant of its new Ram 1500 is assured, giving the Ford F-150 Raptor a run for its money. FCA would prefer accepting your cash in that segment.
Brand boss Mike Manley said Jeep will electrify all of its vehicles in some manner by the end of the planning window — 2022. In many cases, that could just mean a 48-volt mild hybrid setup on a four-cylinder vehicle, just like what we’re getting with the Wrangler JL. European customers can expect the elimination of diesel and its replacement by eight plug-in hybrid models (bolstered by five mild hybrids), while China gets a new “urban” SUV and four battery electric models.
Globally, rumors of a baby Jeep proved true, as the brand plans to tap into the overseas A-segment with the launch of a diminutive ute with Fiat bones. Americans can expect larger offerings. A three-row Grand Cherokee’s on the way, Manley said, along with the high-profit Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Refreshes or redesigns are coming for the Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade, as well as the Grand Cherokee. All told, eight plug-in hybrid models should appear in the lineup by 2022. In the first quarter of 2020, a “Deserthawk” trim joins the existing Trailhawk and Trackhawk; Jeep promises eight “desert specific engineering standards” that sho0uld turn the models into a high-speed sand monster.
The brand wants its utility vehicle market share to grow from one in 17 to one in 12 over this time frame. Eventually, it hopes for one in five. Reach for those stars…
At the far less crowded Ram brand, the big news is a production model of the TRX concept the automaker displayed at the 2016 Texas State Fair. Hellcat power is a possibility. FCA spent piles of cash getting its 2019 1500 out the door; why not use it to its maximum potential?
Hybridization is also in the cards for the light-duty Ram pickup, but there’s no exact date for its introduction. In 2019, a new Heavy Duty model appears, and FCA’s aiming for a higher average transaction price to compete with Ford’s glitzy Super Duty line. Also in the 2018-2022 time frame? A long-rumored midsize pickup. No word on an introduction date or whether we’ll see a return of the Dakota nameplate, unfortunately.
As for the tony Italian brands, the 8C and GTV nameplates will stage a reappearance at Alfa Romeo. Brand chief Tim Kuniskis said the GTV will be an “attainable” four-seater with 600 horsepower and all-wheel drive, while the 8C should make the 0-62 mph run in three seconds. As well, there’ll be two new SUVs to bracket the existing Stelvio.
By 2022, FCA wants to double Maserati’s sales. A big part of the plan involves two new models: a SUV to slot below the existing Levante, as well as an Alfieri coupe and convertible to lure in big-spending buyers. There’s three powertrains in the works for that model, including a plug-in. How does 0-62 mph in two seconds sound? Unattainable? Well, that’s what Kuniskis promises.
During the presentation, CEO Sergio Marchionne updated the media on his company’s financials, declaring that by the end of June, FCA’s cash flow should outweigh its remaining debt. The automaker hoped to become cash positive in 2018, ahead of Marchionne’s retirement in early 2019.
[Image: Matthew Guy/TTAC]