Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sat down with Motor Trend on the floor of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show early last month, where he discussed the automaker’s plan for luxury brand Alfa Romeo, the replacements for the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 and expanding Ram’s lineup.
Of Alfa Romeo, Marchionne said that he “did not postpone investment in Alfa; we postponed the launch of vehicles, and there is a difference.” The brand indefinitely delayed the launch of a rear-wheel drive Giulietta, a full-size sedan and a seven-seat SUV, and the Stelvio SUV has also been pushed back until early next year.
Marchionne said their revised plan for Alfa came about due to the Chinese market. Import restrictions have made Alfa unprofitable in the region, and without the luxury-loving Chinese, his business base for the brand is not strong enough.
In North America, Marchionne is busy trying to bring more SUVs to market. To do this, FCA will end production of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart in order to free up production space to bring vehicles like the rumored Jeep Grand Wagoneer to market. Marchionne sees the consumer shift towards SUVs as “permanent,” and is thus going all-in on SUV development.
FCA will have replacements for the 200 and Dart, however they won’t be the ones building the cars. Marchionne is currently seeking partners to jointly develop the cars with, however FCA won’t be producing the cars.
“There are discussions going on now,” Marchionne told MT. “I think we will find a solution. We continue to talk. It’s both a technical solution and an economic one. We need to find a solution that works economically.”
“We’re not the guys who are going to do the manufacturing of the car,” he added.
Finally Marchionne commented on the possibility of Ram entering the mid-size truck segment. The outspoken CEO has talked about producing a new Ram mid-size or compact in the past, and told MT they are “looking into it.” The big question right now, Marchionne says, is whether or not the small Ram should be body on frame.