Upcoming Chryslers, Dodges, Rams, and Jeeps
Compact and mid-sized cars and crossovers
The “true” next generation 2015 Chrysler 200 — to be built starting between February and May 2014— was being led by Lancia people when we last saw it; it is likely to be sold as the Lancia Flavia in convertible and sedan form. The 2015 Chrysler 200 will have a Chrysler 2.4 (~200 hp); and the 3.2 and/or 3.6 liter V6. The 1.4 liter Fiat engine has reportedly been axed, at least for American markets, though the similar Alfa Guilia will use the 1.4 turbo and the Alfa 1.8 direct-injection turbo engine and a 2-liter diesel.
The 200 will have the nine-speed ZF automatic, and is reportedly going to achieve 38 mpg — possibly in a special “HFE” model. The illustration above, courtesy of JackRatchett, is based on what we’ve been told.
Despite announcements that Dodge Avenger would be killed off, which are still being echoed in the media, Dodge Avenger now seems to be moving to a rear wheel drive version of the midsized cars, which it will share with an Alfa Romeo and SRT Barracuda (which we think will just be called Avenger after all). The rear wheel drive midsized setup was reportedly approved in early 2013. Detroit News claimed that the existing front-drive Avenger would be kept on for two more years, hedging Chrysler’s bets on the new 200.
RVC wrote, echoing other sources, “This new D architecture is a joint project, developed in Detroit with permanently embedded Fiat engineers ... Having a RWD D-segment architecture is costly, and took two years of tinkering between finance and marketing ... E-Evo was discarded [for this purpose, in 2012], when it became obvious that if you shorten it too much you can't produce an aerodynamic, sexy looking D-segment car.”
Thus, we now expect Dodge Avenger to be a rear wheel drive four-door sedan and SRT Barracuda-or-Avenger to be a limited production coupe, powered by a 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi, sharing with an Alfa Romeo coupe and hatch. These are due for model year 2016 (which could mean production will start in 2015 or early 2016).
Chrysler 100 and/or 100C appears to have been dropped from the plans, but we think that Dodge Dart might eventually move over to Chrysler.
The SRT Dart has been dropped for the moment, with a Dart R/T (above the GT) possible with milder but still formidable performance. All wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic are both in the Dart’s future.
LX, RT, and E-Evo: large cars and minivans
A new large-car (“E”) platform was being developed, with the goal of bringing together minivans, cars, and crossovers — both front and rear wheel drive, at least for cars; we do not know if this is still the plan.
The first new L-series car to appear in 2014 will be the 2015 Dodge Challenger, on the new LA platform; originally this was to be a shortened version to cut weight, but the Challenger may well end up at its current size. The main benefit will be the eight-speed automatic, expected to be standard on all Challengers, as it is on Grand Cherokees and Durangos. A comprehensive interior upgrade is also expected. The basic Challenger look should remain up front, with some changes, including a center post and possibly smaller headlights or resized parking lights; in back, it might move closer to Charger or Dart. . It will have UConnect 2, Via Mobile, 8.4 inch touch screen, etc.
Following the Challenger by a few months, we expect to see the facelifted Charger coming down the line. There’s no word on what to expect, visually, but major changes to the shape are unlikely. The tail will probably remain similar to the current model, perhaps with the “solid line” version of the racetrack tail-lamps, eliminating the obvious use of individual LED bulbs.
Finally, just before 2016 shows up in reality, the 300/300C is to appear. Ralph Gilles told us that the current styling cues are to continue, and we expect mild changes to the optics and grille, with some changes to rear lighting, to be the extent of exterior visual changes.
Both Charger and 300 are set to be replaced in the 2017-2020 timeframe by new cars based on the Maserati Ghibli. The Ghibli was described to us as an LX with all the Mercedes gear removed, though it is more complicated than that; the engine bay was reduced in space since there is no V8 option, and while the rear suspension seems very similar to that of the 300C, the front suspension double-wishbone design was modified from the Mercedes-style to a Maserati-style setup. The next generation large cars from Chrysler will probably use many of the Ghibli’s changes.
A new supercharged 6.2 Hemi is expected to join the SRT cars in 2014.
- Charger and 300C: Chrysler was rumored to be downsizing Charger, but may instead keep Charger “as is” and make 300C a front wheel drive large family car with an emphasis on space and comfort (2017-2019). Rear wheel drive might be a Dodge/Alfa differentiator. No decision has leaked out yet, but for 2015, there should be no major changes other than eight-speed Hemi combinations.
- Imperial was set for 2015 when last seen but has probably been dropped. Maserati and Alfa Romeo are already moving into that space.
- Alfa Spider (a 1966-1993 name) convertible was proposed for early 2014, on shortened LA — this has almost certainly has been switched to the new D-RWD.
- Eight-speed automatics are to replace the five-speed in Hemi and diesel models in 2014. Stop/start systems are likely to show up as well, in the next generation.
The Dodge Journey has been firmly established as the #1 crossover in Canada, and is now #1 crossover in Mexico, and is selling well as the Fiat Freemont; production is becoming a constraint. A replacement based on new CUSW platform due in calendar year 2014-2015 or so. At that time it can be built interchangeably at Sterling Heights, Belvedere, or Toledo. It is possible the Dodge version will be dropped in favor of a Chrysler-Lancia.
Dodge Viper, Chrysler Firepower, Maserati GranTurismo
The 2013 Viper: 640 horsepower. 600 foot-pounds of torque. 100 pound weight reduction. Three models: Base, S, Track Pack. See more at the 2013 Viper page. Conner Avenue has been reopened. 2013 SRT Viper details.
SUSW: small cars
L’il Jeep and Dodge
A B-sized Jeep was part of the Five Year Plan back in November 2009 and remains in the 2013 revision; Dan Minick believes it’ll be an open-topper on the revised SCSS platform (dubbed SUSW), shared with GM (Corsa) and others. The Jeep based on this platform will be imported, and is now slated for U.S. sale. Karl wrote that the small Jeep — Jeepster/Trailduster/Scamp or whatever — has been promised to Mirafiori workers, in place of an Alfa based on Liberty/Cherokee. An Alfa Romeo version of this vehicle is rumored to be called Kamal. It will be made by Fiat, somewhere.
The head of Fiat India, who is responsible for the Chennai engineering center, told IndianAutosBlog that the Jeep subcompact SUV would be “completely different and separate” from the Fiat. We have been told to have high expectations for the vehicle, as Jeep successfully argued for it to meet its own standards. The platform (key dimensions) are SUSW but the architecture (suspension design and such) is unique.
The B-Jeep will be 4.25 meters (167 inches) long, and will be four-cylinder only, with Multijet diesels in Europe and Asia, and the 1.4 liter Multiair everywhere. No front-drive versions are planned, just 4x4.
Caravan, Town & Country
Minivans: All wheel drive will be optional on the first truly new minivans to hit Chrysler for many years. They will appear at the end of 2014, but may be delayed till early 2015. Nine-speed automatics will be used, possibly as an option. The minivan plant is slated to close at the end of July and to reopen in early November.
The 2015 minivans will reportedly be based on a new E-Evo platform along with large cars, which would explain rumors of a full sized front-drive / all-wheel-drive car based on the minivan platform; the same platform could be used for front drive and rear drive cars, as well as minivans. (LH was originally designed to be adaptable to RWD). Minivans were originally based on the compact K-cars. The architecture will be completely new.
CEO Sergio Marchionne has said numerous times that he intends to whittle the two minivans, which were nearly identical from 2008 to 2010 and are now differentiated largely by price and features, down to a single van. This could make it easier to continue winning the #1 sales position over Toyota and Honda; while Chrysler has always had the highest combined minivan sales (Dodge plus Chrysler), Honda has (though not in 2012) grabbed the #1 sales spot for Odyssey over either Caravan and Town & Country. But which would be turned into a crossover, and which would stay the minivan?
In Canada, the Dodge Caravan is king of the minivans; in the US, the Dodge is more of a fleet standby, with Chrysler Town & Country getting most of the retail sales. While the company could opt for a split solution -- Chrysler Town & Country in the US, Lancia/Chrysler Voyager in Europe, and Dodge Caravan in Canada -- that would be messy, as the crossover in the US would likely be the Dodge Caravan. It would complicate near-border ad campaigns, production, and more -- since styling would also need to be different.
One solution, of course, would be keeping both as minivans, but making the Dodge much more of a Dodge -- increasing its sportiness in look and feel, and making it a niche vehicle in the US, with more options in Canada. In both countries, the Chrysler minivan would be what it is now -- an upscale, conventional minivan. By giving the Dodge more of a performance emphasis, the company could also bias the Chrysler towards comfort rather than cornering.
That brings up the resurrection of the Dodge Dakota as a lifestyle pickup. While it would take quite a bit of work to build a pickup truck using a minivan chassis, if engineers started with that goal from the start, they could work out ways to adapt the chassis and, equally important, the platform (dimensions) to accommodate a “lifestyle pickup.”
The idea of a reasonably sized vehicle with a pickup form, an El Camino (or Rampage) for the modern age, has been bouncing around Chrysler since the launch of the final Dakota, and building one at the minivan plant has been discussed internally as a possibility for some years. These days, though, there’s a single minivan plant, and it’s not as likely to spawn a pickup, given capacity constraints and hopes that the next-generation vans will sell well enough to keep Windsor humming full-time. A pickup might be sketched out, though, to take up the slack if the minivan market fails. JackRatchett accordingly developed this drawing of a possible “lifestyle pickup” based on the Caravan above.
Maserati and Fiat
Maserati has three Chrysler-based vehicles: Quattroporte (extended 300C), Ghibli (sized near Challenger and Charger), and Levante (Grand Cherokee). Each uses Maserati engines with ZF eight-speed transmissions, except Levante, which has a VM diesel option. See our Maserati page.
The Fiat 500L, a five-passenger crossover (coded L-zero), has Fiat 500 styling in a larger package. The five-passenger is to be sold in the United States while Europeans will also get a seven passenger. The platform is SUSW, it’s not based on Fiat 500. K. Oellinger and Dan Minick predicted it correctly; it will be made in Serbia. A Fiat 500X crossover will also be launched, around 2016; and a seven-passenger version of the 500L, titled 500XL in Europe, with “some other name” in North America.
The Fiat 500T is a Fiat 500 with a mild turbocharger kit, producing 135 horsepower, as sold in Europe as the base Abarth. This will have some components from the stock 500 Sport and some from the Abarth, and is easier to live with, yet still quick. Fiat 500e is an electric car for California only.
Platforms (sets of key dimensions): what Chrysler will be using in the future
A = small (500), B = subcompact (500L), C = compact (Dart), D = midsize (200), E = large (Charger).
- SUSW — updated version of the Fiat-GM SCSS platform used by cars from Fiat, Opel, and others.
- CUSW — American version of Fiat’s C-EVO (C - US - Wide) for compact and midsized cars and crossovers
- D-RWD — rear wheel drive, midsized altered-CUSW, approved in 2012
- E-EVO — large cars, crossovers, minivans, possibly a light pickup, for both front and rear wheel drive. This appears to be an evolution of the current L platform.