Upcoming Chryslers, Dodges, Rams, and 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.
The remains of E-Evo (the single platform for all large cars, vans, and SUVs)
This is hearsay and/or speculation, and may not be accurate. There are a lot of stories floating around, likely reflecting numerous plans that are or were being tested or just thought about.
1. The WK3 series — Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, and probably Durango — show up as completely new on the investors’ chart. We have heard that WK3 and the next-generation large cars are coming closer together, and many share more dimensions and parts. However, the minivans are apparently no longer part of that plan.
2. 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, while the AWD setup will likely be from the 200.
3. Dodge Journey is popular but misses the muscle niche Dodge is aiming for. Journey could be turned into a “real Dodge” by making it a crossover based on D-RWD — the upcoming Dodge/Alfa Romeo midsized rear wheel drive series. A midsized Chrysler crossover for the masses could be created by modifying the Jeep Cherokee’s styling and suspension, killing the need for domestic front wheel drive Jeep Cherokees.
And with that...
Compact and mid-sized cars and crossovers
The Alfa Romeos are due in 2015, and the first Dodge in 2016, the same year the Dodge Dart revision is expected; the timing might be set up so they can persuade Italiaphiles and Alfa buyers that the Dodge is only an adaptation of the Alfa, and that Chrysler had no part in the development of the pricier car. (This is similar to statements that the Maserati V6 was created entirely in Italy and has absolutely no relationship to the Pentastar V6.)
Some believe, because of the timing, that the new car will be called Dart, and Dart will become Chrysler 100. Others believe Dart will be downsized and Avenger slotted in. Either way, 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.
Chrysler 100 and/or 100C has returned from the dead and is likely to be a true compact, smaller than the current Dart.
The large cars
There are rumors circulating of front wheel drive Chargers and 300s. These would presumably share more with the minivans. It does make sense to split the two, and product planners are likely having a hard time with the idea, since Dodge, as the muscle brand, should have rear drive V8s as far as they can, while Chrysler 300 has been outselling most or all rivals. 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.
Revised large cars were brought out in calendar year 2014 as 2015 models, with the 2015 Dodge Challenger on the new LA platform; the Dodge Charger; and the 2015 300/300C. All were similar to prior years in the basics, but all had across-the-board eight-speed automatics (Challenger never had this transmission at all, the Charger and 300 had it on the V6); a reconfigurable gauge cluster; interior upgrades; and UConnect 2, Via Mobile, with an 8.4 inch touch screen, etc. The Charger is about the same weight but feels much lighter, and the eight speed feels more refined and shifts better and more quickly than the old five-speed Mercedes automatic (track / street reviews). The hot Hellcat version comes with a 707 horsepower engine. A 300C SRT8 (with the 6.4 engine, not the Hellcat) has been seen in the wild (in right and left hand drive form). Reliable source oh2o said the 6.4 300C was still alive; certainly it is continuing in Australia, where there are no Chargers.
Both Charger and 300 are set to be replaced in the 2017-2020 timeframe by new cars, possibly 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; while the rear suspension seems 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.
- Charger and 300C: There’s a possibility that 300 and/or Charger will go back to the LH style front wheel drive large family car with an emphasis on space and comfort. Rear wheel drive might be a Dodge/Alfa or a Chrysler differentiator; there has been some talk of the Charger being the front drive version. Chances are people in Auburn Hills are playing with a lot of options.
- Imperial has probably been dropped in favor of Maserati and Alfa Romeo cars.
- Stop/start systems will be upgraded with a belt-starter generator system.
The Dodge Journey, for a while the #1 crossover in Canada and Mexico, is selling well as the Fiat Freemont; a replacement is due in calendar year 2015-2016 or so. It can be built at Sterling Heights, Belvedere, or Toledo. The Dodge version might be dropped in favor of a Chrysler. Some have speculated that the Journey will switch to the midsized rear wheel drive platform, others that it will follow the new minivan platform and suspension type.
Sergio Marchionne said in January 2014 that the final platform for Journey had not even been established yet, indicating that a Cherokee/200-based crossover might have been dropped in favor of a something based on the new minivan platform, and, moreover, that Journey sales may be high enough that the company isn’t making a new version top priority.
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 Fiat 500X crossover will also be launched in 2014; and a seven-passenger version of the 500L, titled 500XL in Europe, with “some other name” in North America.
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 (compact wide rear wheel drive, used by Dodge and Alfa Romeo for five to seven cars and crossovers). It is also worth noting that the actual 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).
Where do these families come from?
A = small (500), B = subcompact (Renegade), 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 (500X, Renegade).
- CUSW — American version of Fiat C-EVO (C - US - Wide) for compact and midsized cars and crossovers; minivans are expected to be added as a variant.
- D-RWD — rear wheel drive, midsized altered-CUSW, approved in 2012 (for next-gen Avenger?)
- E — large cars.