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by David Zatz on

Analysis. Some may ask why the leaders of Fiat Chrysler chose to rename both Fiat and Chrysler, rather than leaving them as separate entities.


There are several reasons that come to find, the first of which is that the leaders may be trying to stop within-the-company and outside-the-company competitiveness about what was invented where. They may hope to prevent cultural clashes by using the symbolic shared names, thinking that will reduce psychological separation between the groups.

This may also help to still the few but moderately insane voices of those who still claim Chrysler is being set to be closed or sold.

Forum member “valiant67” pointed out that “labeling everything as an FCA division (rather than having a Chrysler Group or Fiat) will allow further use of ‘American’ FCA technology, without having to deal with the pesky fact that it came from Chrysler Group.”  Given that Maserati and Alfa Romeo are relying on work done in Auburn Hills, in one way or another, that’s an important issue.


While Sergio Marchionne used to freely say that Alfa Romeo would build on Dodge, and that there could be no new Alfa Romeo without similar investments in Dodge, he is unlikely to ever say anything like that again, except in a severely sleep-deprived, inhibition-lowered state. I believe he would like to say it, to show off how the merged company will save money and open new possibilities in Italy / for acquired, historic brands; however, every time he admits to any common parts or designs between Chrysler and any upscale Italian brand, he kills off thousands of sales of that brand.

One thing we learned from the “German Engineering” ad campaigns (not to mention the TC by Maserati) is that you can associate a mainstream American company with an upscale European company all you like; but it’ll kill sales for both.

The FCA US vs FCA Italy rebranding may be intended to somewhat disguise that common ground, though it is unlikely that the FCA US LLC Communications group will be able to make the press corps give up the name “Chrysler” so easily. (Who really calls that weird guy “the artist formerly known as Prince”?)

valiant67 went on to caution, “Many… are confusing Chrysler (the corporate entity) and Chrysler (a brand of cars). Chrysler Corporation, which became Chrysler Group, is gone, and has been renamed FCA US.  Chrysler Corporation is different from Chrysler branded cars like … Toyota the company is different from Toyota the car brand. Chrysler brand still exists… but Chrysler Corporation/Group is gone.” (As, indeed, it has been since 1998, save for a brief time under Cerberus.)

These are the likely reasons for the change, which most likely annoy many Fiat fans as well as many Chrysler fans. The move is unlikely to hit its goals in the next decade, but Sergio Marchionne seems to have a longer time frame in mind anyway.

As for us, there is one bright side: it’s actually easier to type FCA US than Chrysler.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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