Recently, an investor presentation referred to Chrysler’s future lineup as being under re-evaluation. The scene in the US has changed since the current five year plan was set in motion:
- Fuel prices have not only come down further, adjusted for inflation, but they are now projected to remain that way through 2020 at least.
- The market for cars in general is giving way to crossovers.
- The market for small cars in particular has fallen.
This is bad news for the Fiat brand, but it may also call the new subcompact or compact Chrysler 100 hatchback into doubt.
What we believe is likely for Chrysler in the near future is:
- The Chrysler 100 to be re-drawn as a crossover — similar to Renegade and 500X, but with clear Chrysler styling cues and no Fiat engine available. We’d hope for a Hurricane turbo four, but that is not likely to be ready in time for production. This might not be as complex as it seems — it is apparently already a hatchback.
- A Dodge Journey replacement, under the Chrysler label
- A full size crossover based on the minivan
- Continuing the 200 and new minivan
There’s another possibility: that the 100 simply won’t show up in the US or Canada, since it already has a Fiat twin and the engineering costs won’t have been wasted.
As for meeting Chrysler’s lofty sales goals, worldwide sales may be part of the key, though Alfa Romeo and Jeep are often cited as being the “worldwide” brands. FCA may intends to sell many more Chrysler cars in markets where they are currently barely noticeable on sales charts, once they have the right products: modern diesel and hybrid minivans, upgraded midsize crossovers, the 100, and such.
Chrysler has not had a substantial presence outside North America since 1982, aside from minivans in some areas. The name is often familiar but not strongly associated to anything in particular, which can be handy when one enters a new market with a new face.