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Reality vs the 2012 Plan

by David Zatz on

In November 2012 and January 2013, Chrysler showed its product plan to investors. As the company is being slammed for product delays on both the Chrysler and Alfa Romeo sides, we asked, how did they do it before?

The short answer is: they had numerous delays then, too.

First, the Chrysler 200 and the 300/300C refresh were both pushed back by a year from the original plant, but they did come out on time. The Town & Country replacement, planned for 2015, will not appear until early next year, as a 2017 model.  The extra Chrysler CUV’s status is unknown.

For Jeep, the Cherokee and Renegade came out roughly on time, but the Compass replacement seems to have been pushed back one year. So has the Wrangler, and we’re not sure of the status of the two other Jeeps.

jeep renegade launch

Ram has done much better, coming out largely on time, though one new Ram in the plan was scheduled for 2015 and we’re not sure what that means. Another new Ram was shown for 2016, too. The 2015 Ram may have been the Ram 700 for Mexico only, but that seems unlikely.

Moving on to Dodge, everything appeared on time, but we don’t expect a new crossover until next year at the earliest, and to vehicles for 2016 are still status-unknown. SRT plans changed, too, with the “Viper refresh” for 2015 dropped but a new Viper ACR added.

In short, anything happening within two years of the plan’s release happened on time — but after that, all bets were off. Part of the issue is that sometimes it takes longer to develop a vehicle than the company bargained for, and indications are that this is because the original approach (minimal re-engineering) yields unsatisfactory results. How early this is caught is a question — perhaps computer models show the shortfalls before too much money is spent, or perhaps the public plans are developed at a top level and pushback from other levels changes them before engineering even starts.

Either way, the real lesson is not to take changes in the plans as a sign of greater things. The plans have changed since the first 2009 charts were presented — and perhaps, just maybe, they are not completely accurate even when shown, so FCA can throw off the competition a bit.

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