With multiple vehicle introductions, major marketing campaigns and important business decisions, 2015 was a big year for Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The automaker produced too many significant moments to recap them all, so we’ve compiled a list of its most important headlines of 2015 as the year fades to a memory with the arrival of 2016.
1. Introduction of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, Ram Rebel
The first piece of big news from FCA in 2015 was the introduction of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider and Ram Rebel. The 4C Spider, as the name would suggest, is the roofless version of the standard 4C. The car brought with it several new options for the 4C including the ‘Giallo Prototypo’ color for the body, an optional Akrapovic exhaust and new wheel designs.
The Ram Rebel, meanwhile, introduced an off-road styling package to the Ram 1500 lineup. All Ram Rebels come equipped with black exterior accents, new 17-inch wheels and special interior equipment such as high-durability technical grain vinyl seats. The Rebel also features a 1-inch lift, Toyo Open Country 33-inch tires and the Ram 1500’s optional air suspension system.
2. FCA Partners With Furious 7
FCA partnered with Universal this year in order promote itself in one of the biggest film debuts of the year, Furious 7. As an official sponsor of the movie, which featured Dodge Challengers and Chargers throughout, FCA released five music videos with major artists based around the film and also took every opportunity to promote itself before, during and after its debut. Partnering with films is a common marketing strategy at FCA and is a favorite of company CMO Olivier Francois.
3. Debut of the Dodge Viper ACR At Conner Avenue
2015 marked the return of the ACR (Auto Club Racer) nameplate to the Viper. Dodge pulled the wraps off the production ACR at its Conner Avenue Assembly plant, where a small team of dedicated employees currently builds the Viper, effectively ushering in one of the mot extreme performance cars of this decade.
With the Viper’s 640 horsepower 8.4-liter V10 engine and one of the biggest rear wings ever fitted to a production car, the new Viper ACR means business. Dodge went on a nationwide tour with the road-going racecar and demolished nearly every lap record there is, even showing the $1 million+ McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 how it’s done around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
4. Debut of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde
Alfa Romeo first celebrated the debut of its answer to the world’s compact luxury performance cars, the Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde, in June of this year. However the car made its first North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. It was a significant moment for Alfa, as the automaker looking to return to the U.S. market and the Giulia will be crucial to its success.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde is powered by a Ferrari derived 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing 505 horsepower. That power unit will be linked up to a 6-speed manual transmission or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic when the car arrives at Alfa Dealers next year, which will send power to the rear-wheels.
5. Ferrari IPO on Wall Street
Arguably the biggest newsmaker of 2015 for FCA was its spinoff of storied supercar manufacturer Ferrari. In order to help raise cash for the indebted FCA, CEO Sergio Marchionne spun 10 percent of the automaker off in an IPO in October. FCA’s remaining 80 percent stake in Ferrari will be sold off early in the new year with Piero Ferrari retaining a 10 percent stake in his father’s company.
6. Debut of the Fiat 124 Spider
FCA also re-introduced another well-known nameplate to its portfolio this year with the introduction of the Fiat 124 Spider. The new sportscar’s styling calls on that of the original car and should appease both fans of the originla land younger buyers looking for a sporty driving experience.
Based on the ND-generation Mazda Miata, the 124 Spider is relatively lightweight and also powerful thanks to its 160 horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine sourced from the Fiat 500 Abarth. Combine that with the uniquely Italian styling and it should be an interesting addition to the growing Fiat lineup in 2016.
7. Fiat Chrysler Partners With Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Finally, FCA rounded its year of headline-making with a tie-in with what is simply the biggest movie release of all-time, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The campaign involved individual Star Wars commercials for its Fiat, Jeep, Dodge and Ram brands and also special tie-ins such as a Stormtrooper-themed Dodge Charger and Fiat 500. It no doubt gained the automaker some recognition among Star Wars fans and also put it in the news amidst the movie’s release.
So there you have it: FCA’s 2015 Year in Review. We’re looking forward to another year of FCA news and reviews in 2016, and we hope you’ll join us for the excitement, which will start at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in early January.