There have been a few rumors about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles going around this week leading up to the conglomerate's five-year plan being announced Friday morning. Now that the plan has been made official, there are a lot of new things coming to FCA, but also an interesting lack of discussion about a few brands under the FCA umbrella.
For starters, things are going pretty well for FCA financially according to Automotive News. Fiat Chrysler claims it will have more cash on hand than debt by the end of this month for the first time since Fiat and Chrysler merged back in 2009.
As for the actual cars, there were four brands that took most of the spotlight in the plan that was announced this morning. Those brands were Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati. FCA is promising electrification within all of these brands with a $10.5 billion investment in alternative fuel technology through 2022. Part of that plan includes 10 plug-in hybrids and four electric vehicles for Jeep within that time frame, and a Maserati PHEV sport coupe.
Maserati is planning on adding another 32 dealerships in North America in the next five years increasing the total to 185 stores. The luxury brand wants to double its global volume by 2022 and part of its plan to do that is to introduce a new plug-in hybrid mid-size crossover slotted below the Levante. It’s promised to have 50-50 weight distribution and a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio.
FCA has an ambitious—perhaps too ambitious—plan for Alfa Romeo. Alfa will be eliminating the subcompact MiTo, reintroducing the 8C, bringing back the GTV sports car, refreshing the Stelvio and Giulia, and adding another crossover slotted above the Stelvio all in the next five years. That all sounds great, but Alfa Romeo also promised in 2014 that it would have an eight-model lineup and global sales volume of 700,000 by 2018 and neither of those goals have materialized.
Jeep has been a bit of a golden goose for FCA being in the right place at the right time with an explosive increase in popularity for SUVs and crossovers in the last few years. FCA plans to expand the Jeep brand by adding the hybrids and EVs along with a three-row version of the popular Grand Cherokee and previously promised Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs. They are speculated to be high-end Land Rover competitors.
FCA also confirmed the rumor that a subcompact crossover even smaller than the Renegade would be introduced, but there’s no confirmation that it will be available in North America.
As for Ram, the truck brand will continue doing what it does best; making big, high-profit pickup trucks that Americans want to drive. But it’s not just big trucks Ram will be manufacturing. FCA confirmed that Ram is getting back into the mid-size pickup segment, a space the brand has been absent from since the Dakota was discontinued in 2011.
Ram will also be bringing the TRX concept into production as a serious off-road competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor. The Ram TRX is likely to be a better performer than the Raptor on paper since it will be powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine. "The TRX will focus on on and off road performance, power and torque, technology and styling," according to a Ram representative in an e-mail to The Drive.
As for Chrysler and Dodge, there was no mention of either brand. However, FCA confirmed to Automotive News that neither brand will be discontinued. As for Fiat, the five-year plan confirms that the brand will be shrinking and a greater focus will be brought to electrification of the 500 line. We might not be that far off from Fiat becoming an all-electric brand similar to Smart.