In May 2014, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne outlined a $50 billion, seven-year plan to introduce numerous new models across its various brand portfolios with the intention of growing annual global sales 4.75 million in 2013 to 7 million by 2018. Some of those products have been delayed, like Maserati Alfieri coupe and convertible, for example, but cars like the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan are so far right on track.
Even after new products like the Giulia or coming Jeep pickup are introduced, Fiat Chrysler will still have numerous large gaps in its product portfolio. We’ve thought of five different products they could add to boost sales, and considering the number of brands under the Fiat Chrysler umbrella, we’re only scratching the surface with this list.
1. A midsize Chrysler crossover
First and foremost on the list are crossovers. They are all the rage right now, and Chrysler doesn’t have currently have anything to offer curious crossover shoppers that wander into their show rooms. Fiat Chrysler is rumored to be working on a next-generation Dodge Journey, and in our opinion, it would help if they developed a Chrysler-badged model alongside it. Under Dodge’s newly established performance identity, the Chrysler would be a bit more premium and offer more mature styling for consumers that typically wouldn’t buy a Dodge, if Dodge so chooses to even remain the crossover game.
2. A compact Chrysler crossover
Fiat Chrysler already has a formidable subcompact crossover in the way of the Fiat 500X, and it’s unlikely the Italian brand known for creating stylish small cars will dare to offer something larger. Meanwhile, the Chrysler brand, being starved of product of late, could be given the opportunity to reinvent itself a bit with a compact crossover that attacks the heart of a rapidly growing market segment. Better late than never, to be sure.
3. A midsize Dodge sedan
Dodge has been without a midsize sedan since the Avenger was discontinued in 2014. The Chrysler LX-based full-size Charger also isn’t expected to stick around much longer, so FCA’s performance brand in North America may soon be without a rear-wheel drive sedan. That would be no good, so our proposed solution would be to create a new Dodge mid-size sedan riding on a budget version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s “Giorgio” platform. As long as the price is right, we think current Charger owners would flock to it.
If there’s one area where Fiat Chrysler seems to be behind in comparison to other automakers, it’s in hybrid and electrification technologies. Apart from the Fiat 500E, the automaker has yet to offer an alternative energy vehicle of any sort. A hybrid variant of the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country is expected to be offered, but we’d also like to see a Chevrolet Volt/Toyota Prius competitor. Even something as simple as a hybrid version of the Chrysler 200 would suffice, serving as an answer to the coming 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid or the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
5. A midsize Ram pickup
Fuel may be affordable right now, but it won’t stay that way forever. General Motors believes the mid-size pickup segment is going to become increasingly popular as fuel costs rise (as well as full-size truck MSRPs and their continued swelling in overall size), and it would be smart of Ram to get in on the ground floor. A Jeep pickup is rumored to be inbound, but it’s far from a done deal at this point, and it may even end up undercutting the midsize segment. If it does turnout to be a compact truck, Ram would be free to produce a midsize pickup to do battle with the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.
6. A large Ram SUV
General Motors goes virtually unchecked in this market. Ford offers the Expedition as a counter-offer, and that’s about it in terms of relevant competition. Japanese brands Toyota and Nissan may have full-size SUV offerings, but like their large trucks, have failed to win significant buyers over in a quintessentially American vehicle segment. This could be an opportunity for the Ram brand to shine in a market that has proven to be intensely lucrative.