Fiat to create Ram brand, rush new Chrysler models

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by rob, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. rob

    rob Guest

    October 1, 2009 - 12: 01 am ET
    MILAN/DETROIT (Reuters) -- Fiat S. p. A. will rush the first all-new
    Chrysler model to the U. S. market by the end of 2011 and create a new
    Ram brand for its truck line under a revival plan for Chrysler Group
    that will be shown to the U. S. government this week, people involved in
    the discussions said. Fiat, which assumed management control of
    Chrysler under a reorganization funded by the Obama administration, is
    scheduled to brief officials with the White House autos task force on
    plans to revamp Chrysler's vehicle line-up.

    Under the plan, Fiat will create a new Ram brand for what have been
    Dodge-branded trucks, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

    In addition, Fiat will bring its first all-new Chrysler product out
    by the end of 2011, compressing the normal vehicle development plan, the
    sources said.

    That will be in addition to the Fiat 500, a subcompact that Fiat
    plans to introduce to the U. S. market by late 2010. More new models will
    roll out in 2012, one of the sources said.

    Chrysler and Fiat had no comment.

    Chrysler's nine-member board was briefed last week by Fiat and
    Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on the strategy for reviving the U. S.
    automaker's vehicle line-up, according to a person with knowledge of the

    Desperate need

    Many analysts, suppliers and other automotive executives say
    Chrysler desperately needs new vehicles after emerging from bankruptcy
    with $10 billion in U. S. government financing.

    Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy said in a closely
    watched report issued in July that Chrysler could shrink to half of its
    current 9 percent U. S. market share because of the slow pace of upcoming
    vehicle launches.

    Chrysler's prior owners, Cerberus Capital Management and Daimler
    AG, had both cut investment in new vehicle programs to conserve cash
    amid tumbling sales.

    Partly in response, Fiat's plan for Chrysler will focus first on
    investment in improving vehicle interiors, an area where Chrysler has
    come under sharp criticism for trying to cut costs too aggressively.

    Fiat will also revamp the mid-sized Chrysler Sebring and Dodge
    Avenger sedans, reversing an earlier plan that would have scrapped those
    models at the end of 2010 when a Detroit-area plant that makes the
    vehicles is scheduled to close.

    That decision would represent a reprieve for Chrysler's Sterling
    Heights Assembly plant where hundreds of workers rallied last week in an
    effort to save some 1, 200 jobs.

    A trust affiliated with the United Auto Workers union owns 55
    percent of Chrysler. Fiat has 20 percent but could see that share rise
    to 35 percent if it meets certain targets set by the White House autos
    task force.

    Chrysler has said it will not discuss its product strategy until it
    unveils a five-year plan in November.

    By focusing on steps to bring quick improvements to Chrysler cars,
    Fiat hopes to shore up sliding sales over the next two years, one of
    those involved in the discussions said.

    Dodge performance focus

    The separation of the Ram truck brand will allow Fiat to make Dodge
    more of a performance car brand, the person said. But the move could
    also make it easier for Chrysler to spin off its truck business down the
    road if a continuing slump forced Fiat or U. S. officials to consider
    such a step.

    Marchionne, who was due to appear at Chrysler headquarters on
    Thursday, said earlier this week that part of his plan for Chrysler
    would involve more "universal" platforms that Fiat and Chrysler could
    use as the basis for a number of vehicles.

    Marchionne also said there would be a future for the Dodge Avenger
    and Sebring under the Fiat plan.

    "They have a great future. You'll love the cars, " he said
    rob, Oct 7, 2009
  2. rob

    MoPar Man Guest

    October 1, 2009 - 12: 01 am ET
    Two years?

    It's going to take these waps two years to re-badge their Fiat
    golf-carts as Chryslers?
    So what will they call the existing Dodge Ram pickup truck?

    The Ram Rod?

    Because that's what they're doing to Chrysler. Fiat is ramming a rod
    right up Chrysler's ass.
    What a steaming pile of horse shit.

    Chrylser was given to Fiat on a silver platter *because* Fiat could
    supposedly deliver "small car technology" to Chrysler. Now we see that
    Fiat has no such technology ready to transfer to Chrysler.

    But that was all a smoke screen. Fiat never intended to run Chrylser as
    a going concern. They are only in it to bleed Chrysler of any operating
    cash it can spare for the next 2 years, and to use the existing Chrysler
    dealer network to sell high-end Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati models
    in North America.

    During the next year (2010) not much will happen. When the 2011 Detroit
    auto show rolls around in January 2011, people will be scratching their
    heads when they look at the Chrysler pavillion and they *don't see* any
    new car models. For the rest of 2011, we'll hear how Chrysler is on the
    ropes and struggling to survive, while Fiat is toiling away designing a
    golf-cart - err - a small car for Chrysler. But by Q3 of 2011, Chrysler
    is dead and Jeep is sold off to China and maybe India buys Ram, with
    Fiat clawing into the proceeds creating a stink by the US taxpayers who
    feel that they should get the money instead.
    Yea, that's a smoke screen too. Fiat knows it's a waste of money to
    rebadge their 500 as some kind of Dodge. Maybe if they mount a lawn
    mower deck under it they can sell it at Lowes as an all-weather riding
    Of course they have no comment. They know it's all a joke.
    If you want to revive Chrysler and keep jobs in the US/Canada, kick the
    dago waps back to Sicily and bring back the LH platform.

    If you want to hear more of that sucking sound, let Fiat export even
    more Chrysler jobs to Mexico - and Italy!
    I told you that months, years ago.

    What - does Fiat have too much Corinthian leather and needs to unload
    some on Chrysler?
    Yea, I guess Dodge just isin't well known as a performance brand. I
    guess cars like Challenger, Charger, Viper are figments of my
    imagination. A hemi in a pickup truck isin't an American's idea of
    performance -eh?
    These Eurpean idiots have no idea what utility vehicles like pickup
    trucks are, or why American households want them.
    Now where have we heard that before?

    Remember the fiasco with Daimler? Remember how Daimler made sure that
    they could stuff new Chrysler vehicles with old e-class Mercedes shit?
    Now Fiat wants to do the same.
    **** you Marchionne. **** you straight to hell, because that's where
    you intend to send Chrysler once you're done raping it.
    MoPar Man, Oct 7, 2009
  3. Fix

    Zaphod Beeblebrox, Oct 7, 2009
  4. Uh, hello, bankruptcy? Chrysler HAS no cash.

    Maserati is already sold here. And I doubt anybody is going to buy a
    Maserati at the same dealership that sells Calibers.
    Did they get any from GM selling Hummer and Saab? Selling its stake
    in Subaru? Dropping Pontiac and Saturn?

    Check out sales of Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio,
    Nissan Versa, smart. Note that Mitsubishi is about to bring a small
    car over here, and Ford make its European Fiesta here. GM is going to
    make the Spark, a car smaller than the Aveo.

    There are stricter fuel economy standards on the horizon, in case you
    hadn't noticed.

    Yeah, just sell big cars. That'll show the fuel mileage folks.
    Heck, Tonka could improve on Chrysler interiors.

    Not with Avengers, Calibers, and Nitros stinking up the brand.

    Unless you're a contractor...

    Perhaps tastes are changing. Pickup sales are off quite a bit.
    People are realizing a 12 mpg pickup is a silly vehicle for commuting
    or grocery shopping.

    But with economy platforms, something Chrysler needs and Fiat has.
    The alternative is Chrysler being liquidated. How can you forget what
    Chrysler kept saying before and during bankruptcy? Face ir, "bringing
    back LHs and making 12 mpg pickups" is a ticket to the land of
    Oldsmobile and DeSoto.
    erschroedinger, Oct 7, 2009
  5. <chop>

    Get your insults correct MP - M,

    Back during the great immigrant influx in the late 1800s - early
    1900s, illegal immigrant Italians that were busted had the booking
    form marked WOP (With Out Papers). It soon became an insult.
    Erroneous Maximus, Oct 7, 2009
  6. rob

    Bill Putney Guest

    And there are new election cycles on the horizon. Not sure it will do
    any good - but we can hope.
    Bill Putney, Oct 7, 2009
  7. rob

    MoPar Man Guest

    I stand corrected.
    MoPar Man, Oct 8, 2009
  8. rob

    MoPar Man Guest

    Chrysler was given a $15 billion bailout. Fiat will drain as much of
    that as possible into their pockets and chalk it up to product design
    and related expenses.

    Daimler worked hard to drained most of Chrysler's $10 billion in cash
    within a few years of acquiring it. Fiat will do the same.
    Ok, but not the other brands.
    As of this writing, GM hasn't yet sold Saab or Hummer, and it sold it's
    stake in Subaru back in 2006 when it sold all it's shares of Fuji Heavy
    Small econo boxes are loss leaders. They don't make money. Their sole
    purpose is to satisfy CAFE targets. All of the companies you mention
    above make their profits by selling mid to high-end models. Chrysler
    DESPERATELY needs a more economical mid and large car platform if
    they're going to become profitable again. The LX platform is too heavy
    and results in a truckish car, and it's too dependent on Mercedes
    drivetrain and suspension components.

    American car buyers are schizophrenic when it comes to their cars and
    fuel economy. They fell overthemselves trying to buy the Prius when gas
    was $4 a gallon, and then flocked back to their SUV's and pickup trucks
    when gas went back down to $2. American families will always buy the
    largest vehicle they can, because they equate size with safety and urban
    security, and because they like to pack half their household stuff with
    them when they take road trips.
    The LH platform is a much more sane platform to base FWD and RWD mid and
    large sedans on compared to the LX. The shortfall of the LX chassis is
    it's size and weight, and it's primary design goal to result in an
    elevated (higher-riding) car, partly because (so the theory goes) people
    like to ride higher, and also because of the demands of AWD (which is a
    completely assinine option for a sedan).
    The LHS and 300M interior was just as good as, if not better than the
    interior of the top 300C model today.
    It's a red herring to say (and think) that high-performance cars must be
    badged under their own division. It was true in the 1960's and it's
    true today.
    No car maker selling cars in the US can make money selling only compacts
    or sub-compact econo boxes. The true market size for those cars is not
    large, and the margins are razor thin.
    Chrysler was allowed to go into bankruptcy and stiff all of it's
    shareholders and creditors, especially Cerebus. It emerged with $15
    billion courtesy of the US and Canadian gov'ts. It didn't need to be
    merged with Fiat. It could have been run under a board and CEO and
    management chosen from within US/Canada.

    Chrysler *HAS* their own small concept car designs that they *DID* show
    at auto shows over the past 5 - 10 years. Some are (or were) closer to
    being production-ready than others.
    MoPar Man, Oct 8, 2009
  9. rob

    Count Floyd Guest

    Chyrsler has always had "chair high seating" going back to the days of
    WPC himself. Keller demanded that people sit up and be able to wear a
    hat,remember? My 41 Windsor sits nice and high, easy to get into and
    out of. Our PTs and our present Caliber, sit high and are very
    comfortable. I never liked having to bend down and feel like sitting on
    the floor.
    Count Floyd, Oct 8, 2009
  10. This NG has several people who can't handle the idea of an American iconic
    brand going down the tube and having foreign shareholders who may rescue
    bits of it. Fiat may not be an ideal partner but at least it is somebody.


    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
    Dori A Schmetterling, Oct 9, 2009
  11. So how come you aren't working at Chrysler?


    To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
    Dori A Schmetterling, Oct 9, 2009
  12. rob

    MoPar Man Guest

    Don't get me started.

    A lot of good people either left or were shown the door.

    And were is Max Power?
    MoPar Man, Oct 10, 2009
  13. rob

    C-BODY Guest

    I'm not sure WHERE this reporter got his "Dodge Brand" stuff, because
    that's NOT the way the article I read in the Detroit News sounded. The
    way I interpreted the situation is that rather than ONE person being in
    charge of all of Dodge, now it'll be split between two persons . . . one
    for cars, one for pickups and such. Forget "BRAND" management as that's
    what helped kill GM!

    Having a "Car Dodge" and a "Truck Dodge" manager allows each to
    concentrate on the strengths of each and build upon past
    accomplishments, rather than one person trying to do both. I see this
    as a positive, provided they both work together to build "DODGE" rather
    than their resumes.

    A lot of what Fiat seems to be trying to do makes some sense. Yet, I
    also see signals that some of their (what I might call) "misguided
    grandeur" seems like they don't really know what they have. Same thing
    happened with the sub-optimal Daimler influences of trying to make
    "American Mercedes" vehicles at prices that Americans would not pay.
    They added "their" parts and architectures which drove up the price of
    the cars (production costs), plus their extended time proving grounds
    testings was supposed to yield long-lasting and durable vehicles, but
    Chrysler already had more of that than many would suspect or
    acknowledge, with what they were already doing. More overhead meant
    lower ultimate profits.

    Their "gate" system was highly similar to what was, AND HAD BEEN IN
    PLACE for many years at the Viper plant. When a quality issue arose,
    the lines stopped until it was finished. Each vehicle had to pass a
    "gate" for a number of areas before it could go to the next area. Yet,
    when MB put it place, it was "theirs".

    After driving a rental Sebring, I came to the conclusion that it DID
    earn its Chrysler Wings. It, surprisingly, had what I term "Chrysler
    Feel" (which is a good thing, from the torsion bar days of prior times,
    before things got all "numbed-up"). It fit me as good as any other
    Chrysler product did, too--another positive. Fuel economy for the 4 cyl
    was outstanding, on the road, even if it was a few horsepower down from
    the GM EcoTec and only had a 4-speed automatic.

    Worst thing is the styling that went backward, like going from
    Chrysler's 1955 to 1954 models. It seems, from the people I've seen
    driving them, they remember Chrysler's new 1954 models. It's really
    better than many give it credit for. Certainly does NOT look "generic

    The worst thing Fiat is planning to do is try to upscale Chrysler models
    to Cadillac level. They'd do much better by aiming at the now-forgoten
    Pontiac and Oldsmobile customers and have a halo car to aim toward
    Cadillac, rather than a full line. EVERY time Chrysler tried to knock
    down Cadillac, it didn't work (for one reason or another--the customers
    didn't notice or pay close enough attention to what was going on). Let
    Chrysler stay "Chrysler" and out-Buick Buick with styling and "I WANT
    ONE" orientations from the public.

    When the current Chrysler 300 came out, I happened to cross paths with a
    buyer of a new Chrysler 300C HEMI at the post office. He was old enough
    to remember the resemblance of the cross-flags on the side of the car
    being from the original Chrysler C300s. I asked him how he liked it.
    He replied "Best car I've ever owned. Better than the Cadillac I
    traded-in on it!" I smiled.

    Forget the last Imperial concept car--period!!!!! Sometime more like we
    was in the 1990s would be better, from the many outstanding Chrysler
    concept cars back then. Perhaps a Firepower coupe on the Challenger
    platform, with full electronic "stuff" in the interior and chassis? Aim
    for $40K MSRP.

    Pontiac tried to be "An American BMW" in many respects. In some
    respects, it succeeded in matching BMW performance and such, but never
    got past that too far. Chrysler needs to be a place for frustratred
    Pontiac customers to go, plus some Oldsmobile people, too. Plus Buick
    people that want more performance than a Northstar V-8 might have, plus
    over-the-road handling superiority. Chrysler seems to have more of a
    built-in customer base than GM does, due in part to the GREAT MOPAR
    HERITAGE of performance and styling, plus economy of ownership. As
    future Cadillacs more mimic BMW in size and such, Chrysler could aim for
    some of the same market at a lower price point, but greater levels of


    C-BODY, Oct 10, 2009
  14. rob

    MoPar Man Guest

    It's never "one person trying to do both". There are always going to be
    VP's and other managagers that control what happens with every sub-brand
    or line within a given division. Makes no difference if you break apart
    the cars and vans and trucks and give them their own divisions.

    Dodge trucks are iconic.

    Dodge car models are iconic.

    You take a Dodge Ram and call it something else, you've just thrown away
    years of brand identity building and marketing value.
    It's window dressing.
    No, it doesn't. What will save Chrysler is offering profitable sedan's
    that don't look weigh 2 tons.

    The following numbers are total US sales year-to-date 2009, and the
    percentage change as compared to the same time period in 2008.

    Clearly, sales of Ram trucks are good (as compared to other models) and
    the Wrangler, Journey and Challenger are selling much better than the
    industry average on a year-over-year basis.

    Once you get to the -40% point (Durango to Charger) are selling worse
    than the industry average. I'm surprised to see Caliber at -60%, and
    Nitro at -55%. An indication that the US consumer has no desire for
    small cars.

    The 300 performs poorly - at -43%, but it shows that the US consumer
    would rather buy a 2-ton beast of a car vs the Nitro or Caliber

    Durango 3,416 -80%
    Sebring 17,431 -72%
    Aspen 5,852 -67%
    Commander 8,843 -61%
    PT Cruiser 16,760 -60%
    Caliber 29,814 -60%
    Dakota 8,894 -59%
    Viper 367 -58%
    Compass 10,025 -55%
    Nitro 13,645 -55%
    Sprinter 5,403 -52%
    Avenger 27,331 -49%
    Patriot 25,596 -46%
    300 29,322 -43%
    Charger 46,110 -43%
    Liberty 32,653 -40%
    Caravan 64,912 -37%
    Town & Country 61,715 -35%
    Grand Cherokee 39,890 -30%
    Ram Pickup 143,205 -27%
    Wrangler 65,045 0%
    Journey 37,842 6%
    Challenger 18,878 124%

    Not included are models which were discontinued in 2008 - which were
    Magnum, PT Cruiser convertible, Crossfire and Pacifica. The Magnum was
    the first Dodge based on the LX platform (essentially a station-wagon
    version of the 300). It was replaced by the Journey - which could be
    why the Journey is posting a positive % change.

    As far as total sales by BRAND, Jeep did best with a net change of -32%,
    followed by Dodge at -37% and Chrysler at -52%.

    Chrysler desperately needs better sedans, and Fiat can give it NOTHING
    on that front.
    Cadillac has wrecked their image with the way their cars have looked in
    the last 10 years. Complete crap. Chrysler's 300N concept car that was
    shown at the '2000 Detroit Auto Show could easily have competed against
    Cadillac and Lincoln.

    Back in the day, the 300M was very close to being a direct competitor to
    the Lincoln LS.
    MoPar Man, Oct 10, 2009
  15. Well, only on a % basis; not on a sales volume basis.
    Yet they buy Civics and Corollas. Does that tell you something?
    Replaced? Not really. The Journey is smaller, front-wheel drive, and
    based on the same Mitsubishi platform as the Avenger, Caliber, et al.

    Note the Durango and Aspen are now gone.

    Anything would be better than the Sebring/Avenger. Heck, the K-cars
    were better.
    Because luxury car makes are so front-wheel drive these days, right?
    All those fwd BMWs and Mercedes and Jaguars?

    BTW, Ford is taking Lincoln downscale, more in competing with Buick.
    Except one was fwd and offered a V6 and the other rwd with a V8?
    erschroedinger, Oct 14, 2009
  16. rob

    Some O Guest

    Not at all. The Caliber interested me functionally, but as much as I
    tried I just couldn't handle it's styling. So I had to pass !
    Some O, Nov 13, 2009
  17. rob

    Some O Guest

    I doubt a Magnum buyer would agree the Journey is their next vehicle.
    The Journey actually replaced the shorter mini Van. The very high step
    up to enter and the spare underneath confirms that.
    Some O, Nov 13, 2009
  18. rob

    Steve Guest

    And the FWD turns this potential Magnum buyer away. That was one of the
    biggest attractions of the Magnum for me... that and the V8 availability.
    Steve, Nov 13, 2009
  19. rob

    Some O Guest

    I can appreciate that, they don't compare.
    The Magnum and the Journey are in totally different vehicle categories,
    even if they both had RWD or FWD.
    Some O, Nov 17, 2009
  20. rob

    CopperTop Guest

    I've had the "opportunity" to rent several Journey's. Whata cheap
    looking POS. I know rental companies don't get the top of the line
    vehicles but it's easy to guage the top of the line on how cheap and
    poorly put together the lower lines are. The Chevy Equinox is lightyears
    ahead in all aspects of the Journey.
    CopperTop, Nov 17, 2009
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