One of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ namesake automotive brands – Chrysler – could exit stage left soon enough, making good on rumors that have persisted for some time. Today, the brand offers just three products in the North American market it calls home: the long-in-the-tooth Chrysler 300 sedan, the lauded Chrysler Pacifica minivan, and the Pacifica’s plug-in-hybrid variant. Now, as CEO Sergio Marchionne prepares to deliver a presentation to investors in Balocco, Italy on Friday, Automotive News reports that a source claims an announcement regarding Chrysler’s demise could be one of the talking points.
Automotive News labels the rumor “officially unconfirmed,” but the outlet furnished this quote from Marchionne as possible proof of Chrysler’s lack of parental support:
Our commitment [to passenger cars] continues to be quite strong, especially when it comes to Dodge. We have found a way to play in the passenger car side with Dodge in a very clear way, and we’re very uniquely positioned. I don’t think we’re going to abandon that market, especially given [Tim] Kuniskis’ attachments to V-8s. I think he has one in his bedroom.
The Chrysler name didn’t come up once – and that’s the point. Back in 2014, Sergio Marchionne et al. laid out a plan to grow the Chrysler brand into a major force, with eight products to cover 65 percent of all automotive segments by 2018. It’s 2018 now, and there’s little to suggest that FCA has five additional Chrysler vehicles waiting in the wings. There may be one or two crossovers on the way, last we checked, but those could easily be rebranded prior to launch.
In addition to news about the Chrysler brand, FCA’s Investor Day presentation Friday is expected to contain an update on the status of the automaker’s debt-elimination efforts, as well as some new product announcements. Stay tuned.