Auburn Hills, Michigan - The combined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is counting on expanding sales at Jeep, Alfa-Romeo and Maserati, along with a revival of the Chrysler brand, to place it firmly in the top ranks.
Fiat and Chrysler jointly presented their future sales targets and product plans on Tuesday in a day-long meeting at Chrysler's Michigan headquarters.
The good news is that there is a glut of new products on the way, including a full line-up of cars from Alfa-Romeo, although there will also be a few victims.
Fiat Chrysler, as it will soon be known, wants to grow sales by 60 percent to more than 7 million vehicles by 2018, from 4.4 million last year.
“Today we stand before you as a global carmaker,” Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said. “Today is much more than a new chapter. We are beginning to write a completely new book.”
Marchionne, 61, said he expects to remain CEO through 2018 to make sure the plan gets delivered.
These are the product plans exposed at the meeting:
Chrysler will become the mainstream brand for North America, designed to compete with Toyota and Chevrolet. The Town and Country MPV will get an update and add a plug-in hybrid version in 2016. A new compact car, the 100, arrives in 2016. A year later, a full-size crossover will be launched to compete with the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. The crossover will also come in a plug-in hybrid version.
This brand will lose the Grand Caravan and the Avenger sedan and concentrate on being a sporty, performance-oriented brand designed to appeal to younger buyers. The SRT brand, which includes the Viper sports car, will be consolidated with Dodge and considered the “halo” of the Dodge brand.
Jeep sales are expected to top 1 million this year, and can grow to 1.9 million by 2018 with an aggressive global expansion, particularly in Latin America and Asia, the company said. A new compact SUV in 2016 will replace the Compass and Patriot, and the seven-passenger Grand Wagoneer will launch in 2017. Jeep currently makes vehicles at three plants in the US. By 2018, it expects nearly half of all production to come from plants in Latin America, Europe and China.
Alfa-Romeo, which returns to the US this year with the 4C sports car, plans to introduce eight vehicles globally by 2018, including small, midsize and full-size cars and two SUVs. Alfa CEO Harald Wester says the company will invest nearly $7 billion (R73.5 billion) to develop and make the new vehicles, which will be positioned as direct competitors to BMW and Mercedes-Benz models. Alfa hopes to increase sales from 74 000 in 2013 to 400 000 in 2018.
Fiat brand sales are expected to grow from 1.5 million in 2013 to 1.9 million in 2018. New vehicles will include a subcompact car and compact pickup truck for South America in 2015, the Fiat 500X crossover for North America in 2015 and a new Panda small car for Europe in 2018.
Maserati, which sells four cars now, will have six by 2018. As a result, Wester expects sales to grow from 15 400 in 2013 to around 75 000 in 2018. Sister brand Ferrari expects sales to stay around 7000, but could rise to as many as 10 000 if demand increases. “There are increasing numbers of people who can afford a car of this calibre,” Marchionne said.