Fiat Chrysler recently announced it would end production of slow-selling Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart in order to focus more heavily on truck and SUV sales in North America and expand its Jeep and Ram brands. Volkswagen, meanwhile, has had trouble meeting its sales goals in North America with its lineup of passenger cars and needs larger vehicles like a three-row SUV if it hopes to gain market share.
It seems the two automakers are perfect for each other, as explored by Automobile Magazine’s David Kiley. It’s no secret FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is propping the company up for a merger with his new truck and SUV-intensive product offensive, and who better to link up with than VW? Not only do they have a lineup of great passenger cars for his company to rebadge, they want to try and sell 1 million units a year in North America by 2018. They’ll need trucks and SUVs to do that, and FCA’s got ‘em.
It’s a little bit of a far-fetched idea, seeing as there’s some historic bad blood between Marchionne and VW, but it seems possible the deal-making Marchionne might be able to forget the past if it’s good for business. VW’s hoard of existing brands (VW, Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley Porsche, Seat, Skoda, MAN, Scania Trucks and Ducati) create further problems, as the business would become exorbitantly complicated by adding Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Lancia and more.
We not entirely confident this idea is the solution to VW’s solutions, but it’s exactly the type of thing Sergio Marchionne wants before he retires and sends FCA on its way. We’re firm backers of Marchionne’s belief that the automotive industry will eventually need to consolidate in order to survive in its current form, but we’re not so sure VW, or any other automaker for that matter, believe that time time is now.
Head on over to Automobile to read Kiley’s full analysis on the potential merger.