Last week Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set out a long-winded plan for the future of the American automaker and how its future will be closely tied to its new Italian parent company. There was a lot to digest at the seven hour press conference and so we thought a model by model breakdown would be helpful and would shed some light on what appears to be the general plan to eliminate old Chrysler products and replace them with new Chrysler Group-branded Fiat models. So let's start with Dodge…
From the smallest to the largest vehicles, Dodge will see the introduction of a subcompact car in 2013 based on the Alfa Romeo MiTo. Currently Dodge does not offer a sub-compact with its smallest offering being the compact Caliber, which receives a mild update this year but will be eliminated in 2012 and then replaced the same year by a Fiat Group-based vehicle. Presumably it will be another Alfa Romeo platform, however, the car will be built in the U.S.
Moving to the mid-size segment, the Avenger will also be updated for 2010 and then replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
The future for the Journey, Grand Caravan and Charger is more positive, with the Journey and Grand Caravan getting updates for 2010 with a new Grand Caravan due in 2014. The Charger will be all-new for 2011 with a new interior and exterior, after originally launching in 2006. A new rear suspension will also be part of the package. As for its Challenger sibling, it will be updated for the 2012 model year.
Two vehicles that will be eliminated are the Nitro and Viper, with the Nitro slated to be scraped in 2011 (with a possible successor), while the Viper will cease production mid next year with a potential sports car replacing it in 2012.
One new model will be added to the Dodge lineup; a seven-seater crossover based on the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The new Ram brand still won't have a lot going on, although Fiat is looking to expand its offerings. The Dakota is scheduled to cease production late in 2011 with a possible unibody pickup to replace it. As for the Ram 1500, it will get a mid-cycle refresh in 2012, as will the heavy duty Ram trucks. A chassis cab version of the Ram will also arrive in 2010.
Two additions to the lineup include a front-drive small work van and full-sized van in 2012. The small van will be similar in purpose to Ford's Transit Connect and will be based on the next-generation Fiat Doblo. It will be imported from either Turkey or Brasil. As for Ram's new full-sized van offering, it will be one of two vehicles: either the body-on frame Iveco Daily or the unibody Fiat Ducato. Unlike the small van, this full-sized unit will be assembled in the U.S.
Starting in the small scale, the Chrysler Brand will also get a subcompact, although (surprisingly) it will not be based on the same Alfa Romeo vehicle as the Dodge sub-compact. Instead, it will be underpinned by the next-generation Lancia Ypsilon five-door hatch and will go on sale in 2013.
A new compact sedan (based on a Fiat Group platform) will be launched in 2012. It is not clear if the Fiat Group platform is the same one that will underpin the Dodge compact sedan. The same can be said for the Sebring, which, like its current Dodge counterpart (the Avenger) will get styling updates next year and be replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
As for the PT Cruiser, it will be eliminated late next year – although we've heard that one before.
The Chrysler 300, like the Dodge Charger, will be all-new for 2011 with the new model arriving some time next year. Styling is expected to be evolutionary, so don't expect much change – which is probably a good thing.
And as for Chrysler's final product, the Town & Country minivan, it will get updates next year with a new model in 2014. Fiat hopes to differentiate the Chrysler minivan from its Dodge counterpart by taking it more up-market. (Have we learned nothing from the R-Class?)
Finally, there's the Jeep brand, where we've already learned the Patriot, Compass and Commander will be eliminated over the next few years. The first to meet the scrap heap is the Commander, with production ending late next year
, while the Patriot and Compass will be get mild updates for 2010 before being retired in 2012. Interestingly, Fiat may build and sell the Commander overseas after 2010.
At the low end of the spectrum, a new subcompact SUV will arrive in 2013 based on the next generation Fiat Panda Cross, while a new compact crossover will arrive the same year based on an unnamed Fiat Group platform. A new Liberty will also arrive that year, again based on a Fiat.
As for Jeep's core vehicles, the Wrangler will get a new interior next year, with a new engine offered in 2011. The Grand Cherokee will continue on as planned with the new model debuting next year as a 2011 model.
More: Report: Fiat's Five Year Chrysler Group Plan, Model by Model Breakdown