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5 Year Plan no-shows: D-RWD Dodge, Jeep pickup

by David Zatz on

Missing entirely from the Five Year Plan were two perennially rumored cars — the Jeep pickup and the midsized, rear-wheel-drive Dodge.

Of the two, the more worrying is the car which, for convenience, we will call the Dodge Avenger. (Keeping some name continuity makes sense, even though the car will switch to rear wheel drive; its basic size and market position should be similar.) Sergio Marchionne has already said that developing it for Alfa Romeo would not pay unless Dodge built a similar car, and we know Alfa Romeo will start production in 2015, so… why is there no Dodge version in the Five Year Plan?

Allpar can offer two possibilities:

  1. FCA is simply not listing the car because it does not want to tip off competitors.
  2. The Dodge version will be the new Charger, which will size-differentiate it from 300.

The first possibility is more attractive; the second would essentially end use of the Charger as a police car, ceding that market to Ford, (which the company might find acceptable). It would also be unnecessary, given that Charger and 300 are not cross-shopped by 80% of customers, at least according to Chrysler’s own data. 300 has already moved up in the market by dropping its base “cloth-seat” model, which boosted residual values.

As for the Jeep pickup, which has been rumored for years but treated by Chrysler executives with a wink and nod rather than official confirmation, we have these possibilities:

  1. FCA is not listing the pickup because it does not want to tip off competitors.
  2. The same market research that ended the midsize Ram pickup project, ended this one
  3. Given delays in Wrangler development, a decision on the pickup is being held for a year or two, while the reception to Chevy Colorado is analyzed or new market research is done

Jeep may even start development of a pickup but stop short of building and testing prototypes, while it sees how Wrangler production goes. If the new generation is even more popular than the current models, they may choose not to go to the expense of building pickups as well, maximizing Wrangler production instead.

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