While Fiat Chrysler Automobiles continues to face an uncertain future, the automaker has two lifelines on the way: the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, and the 2019 RAM 1500. Each product is a recognizable, high-margin one for its respective brand, and while FCA can continue to milk the aging Dodge Challenger and Charger for extra value, investing in overhauls of two of its most pivotal products is a prudent use of funds.
“The tone always changes when you have something new and fresh to talk about,” IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley explains. Maintaining a mostly-positive image is important to Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s goal of eventually lining up a merger with another global automaker.
First up is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, which has already been shown in photos, but still hasn’t officially been unveiled to the public. It’s slated to bow at the Los Angeles Auto Show later in the month, carrying the burden of being the absolute centerpiece of FCA’s successful Jeep SUV brand. After that, early next year, an all-new RAM 1500 full-size pickup will be revealed. Both are expected to take a dose of aluminum to shed a few pounds, and both will pack in the technology.
Previously, China’s Great Wall Motor Company expressed interest in purchasing the Jeep brand individually, and it seemed as though FCA might be willing to oblige. That would have freed up a lot of money for investment, but the rumors concerned many in the industry because Jeep is the automaker’s bread and butter; one Morgan Stanley analyst even said that the brand is more valuable than its parent company.
In October, Sergio Marchionne clarified that the Jeep brand is not for sale individually.
(Source: Detroit Free Press)