Upcoming Chrysler and Dodge cars (with some Jeeps)
Lancia will not be used outside of Italy in the future, according to Sergio Marchionne; whether Chrysler cars and minivans will use Fiat badging, stand as Chryslers, or just leave Europe is not known to us. We suspect the 300 will leave Europe while the Voyager (Town & Country) will become a Fiat, and that a Lancia “rebirth” will occur in ten years.
One rear wheel drive architecture to rule them all
RVC wrote some time ago, “This new D architecture is a joint project, developed in Detroit [Auburn Hills] with embedded Fiat engineers [despite the “Giorgio” name which indicates pure Italian development] ... Having a RWD D-segment architecture is costly, and took two years of tinkering between finance and marketing.” This matches past statements by Sergio Marchionne and some inside tips. The rear wheel drive midsized setup was officially approved in early 2013.
Update: Later sources said that a shortage of engineers in the United States and the move from a D-segment RWD architecture to a full-range design resulted in Auburn Hills being mainly shut out of the project.
In the series, which is highly modular and is to range from compact to large cars and crossovers, we expect:
- Grand Cherokee / Wagoneer which show up as completely new on the investors’ chart. Wagoneer will have an extended length and possibly and extended wheelbase, and will start in price where Grand Cherokee leaves off.
- Dodge Journey is likely to give way to two cars, a midsized Chrysler crossover based on the Jeep Cherokee and Chrysler 200, also selling as Fiat Freemont; and a rear wheel drive “tall wagon” similar to an Alfa Romeo that’s been announced.
- Dodge Avenger née Dodge Barracuda is the upcoming rear wheel drive midsized car.
- The first Alfa Romeo is due in 2015, and the Dodges may have been pushed back, partly so they can persuade critics and snobs that the Chrysler had no part in the development of the pricier car. A full line of Alfa Romeos is planned.
- Dodge Charger and Challenger are likely to move over to the new platform now instead of using the Maserati adaption of Chrysler’s large car platform and architecture, which largely differs in the front suspension, engines,and costlier parts and systems. For this reason, we don't expect new Chargers and Challengers until model-year 2018 or 2019.
- Dart is due to become “more of a Dodge,” thanks partly to new Chrysler turbo engines. The SRT Dart is due for calendar-year 2016 or so, and is expected to have a four cylinder “Hurricane” turbo — but it may be delayed or dropped if they can't get the numbers from a new and unproven engine.
Front wheel drive: CUSW, SUSW replace old models
The next Town & Country and a full sized crossover, which we’ll call Pacifica, are reportedly being based on the CUSW platform used for Cherokee, 200, and Dart, and are to get a Durango type suspension. The current Town & Country and Caravan are not far from the Cherokee in length or width, so this is plausible, though many parts can't be shared due to the change in width.
We expect the minivans and crossover to share Cherokee’s FWD powertrain (except using the 3.6, not the 3.2), while the AWD setup will probably use electric motors for the rear rather than a traditional system. We keep hearing that the old Dodge Caravan will continue alongside the new Town & Country to keep volumes up, at least until the full size crossover is ready (not unlike the original XJ Cherokee continuing in one plant while ZJ Grand Cherokee started up in another.) Expect to see the next minivan launch at one of the major American auto shows in 2016 — Detroit or Chicago, most likely.
Chrysler 100 and/or 100C has returned from the dead and is likely to be a true compact, smaller than the current Dart, on the SUSW platform; it appears by name in the plans.
There are rumors of front wheel drive 300s which would share much with the minivans; the logic is that Dodge, as the muscle brand, should have rear drive. Having both front and rear wheel drive large cars was Chrysler’s plan as far back as the creation of the original LH series in the early 1990s, with the original Dodge Intrepid. Making the 300 a huge FWD car would differentiate it from the Dodges, as well as the Alfa Romeos and Maseratis.
Dodge Viper, Chrysler Firepower
We understand minor power increases are being worked on for Viper, with a new Viper ACR replacing the TA, adding downforce and an adjustable suspension. Firepower — a Chrysler badged Viper with no V10 — is still rumor/speculation-only and seems unlikely; the supercharged V8 will not fit.
Maserati and Fiat
Maserati has three Chrysler-based vehicles: Quattroporte (extended 300C), Ghibli (sized near Challenger and Charger), and Levante (Ghibli-based). Each uses Maserati engines with ZF eight-speed transmissions, except Ghibli, which has a VM diesel option. See our Maserati page.
A seven passenger version of the Fiat 500X crossover is due for Europe as the “500XL.”
FCA’s goal from the May 2014 Investor Day: to have 95% of total volume from five platforms...
- Mini: three cars, probably all Fiat
- B-Wide: four cars, probably three Fiats (or two Fiats plus Chrysler 100) plus Jeep Renegade
- Compact Wide (CUSW): Dart, Viaggio, Cherokee, 200, Giulietta
- Large: three cars, probably Challenger, Charger, and 300; Ghibli and Quattroporte share quite a bit but for the moment, probably for political and “snob appeal” reasons, are not mentioned
- Body-on-frame: two vehicles, possibly both Ram trucks
Not mentioned: D-RWD / “Giorgio” (rear wheel drive, used by Dodge and Alfa Romeo for five to seven cars and crossovers). The number of architectures is projected to remain the same; only the share of sales covered by the “top four” is seen as increasing from 48% to 70%.
Major part families are set to go from six to three; all part families from 1200 to 550 by 2018. The company claimed, “a new vehicle model will include a mix of new families, deployed families, and carryover parts.” This is estimated to save 1.5 billion euros by 2018. Families can include common parts (e.g. dual-pinion electric power steering between Dart and Cherokee) and unique parts (e.g. Dart’s twist-beam rear suspension vs Cherokee’s multilink rear suspension).
JackRatchett did a good job on this one, which was reasonably close to what was produced.
With Alfa Romeo in full swing, Imperial seems unlikely, but who knows?
You can use your own judgment here.