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Chrysler Atlantic or Dodge Ramcharger?

Last week, we brought you some sketches of a full-size three-row Chrysler SUV, based on the 2019 Ram 1500. While we haven’t confirmed that it has been green-lighted, it shows there is work going on behind the scenes at Chrysler.

One of the biggest comments about the design was the fact that it was a Chrysler, and not a Dodge Ramcharger or a Ram. The reason is that, since the 2009 realignment of the brands, it does not go with Dodge or Ram.

Dodge is now performance-based; after the Grand Caravan and Journey end production, Dodge will focus on performance vehicles. The 2020 Durango will have more of a performance bias, to become the “Charger of full-size SUVs”. Dodge will also get a mid-size RWD/AWD CUV based on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Ram, on the other hand, is focused more on trucks and commercial vans. People have been saying Ram would make more sense with their truck lineup, considering how more private customers buy half ton trucks. But again, it just doesn’t fit with the lineup and direction of the brand.

Chrysler has been labeled as the “mainstream” brand of the FCA US portfolio. Chrysler is now positioned against brands like Ford and Chevrolet. However, the lack of a full lineup prevents the brand from doing so. Chrysler currently has several vehicles in the works for production launches over the next few years. Two of them being crossovers. With vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and the new 2018 Ford Expedition/Expedition Max it makes sense for Chrysler to be the one to tackle its direct competition than any other brand.

Artist’s rendering of a Ram Ramcharger. FCA would, if they made it, have a trim level dubbed the Charger, to make a Ram Ramcharger Charger.

Chrysler had a brief body-on-frame SUV from 2007 to 2009 with the launch of the Chrysler Aspen. Adding a Chrysler full-size SUV would make sense to the portfolio since Jeep is adding the more off-road capable Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS) to it’s lineup which will focus on more of the GMC Yukon Denali, Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade spectrum of the market with the Grand Wagoneer while Wagoneer tackles GMC’s Yukon lineup. Giving Chrysler a more affordable vehicle on the same platform, makes a ton of sense when you think about it.

The Chrysler version could easily have a partnership with the Wagoneer lineup like how the current Durango and Grand Cherokee vehicles are in their segment. The Chrysler would be more budget friendly and offer a more street based full-time AWD system, while the Jeep Wagoneer would focus on more the mid-luxury and luxury segments and be more focused on off-road capability.

Editor’s note: We would normally think this vehicle would be called a Chrysler Aspen, like the last Chrysler SUV, but when that was launched, seemingly every magazine article brought up the 1976 Aspen’s quality problems, an association the company would probably prefer to avoid.

Robert Miller is a long-time Allpar contributor, Mopar enthusiast, and automotive photographer.

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