Chrysler Dropping Duplicate Vehicles
According to CEO Sergio Marchionne, the Chrysler Group will offer just one minivan in the future, the Chrysler Town & Country, as part of a plan to end duplication in the showroom and give each of its brands a more distinctive lineup. “We cannot have the same type of vehicle in the showroom because the consumer is not stupid,” the Chrysler CEO told Automotive News.
With the four brands under one roof, the company wants to eliminate duplication of badge-engineered siblings such as the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro, Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. Both the Chrysler sedan and Dodge crossover will be built on Fiat platforms.
In an interview in Turin, Italy, Marchionne said he has decided against offering Chrysler and Dodge subcompacts, a departure from the company’s November 2009 product plan. That means the Fiat 500 will remain the group’s only subcompact in North America for the next few years.
The Chrysler brand will get a replacement for the 200 sedan in 2013. The 200 name may remain. The sibling Dodge Avenger will disappear and Dodge will instead attempt to cover the mid-sized segment with a crossover–the same vehicle that replaces the Grand Caravan.
Some time in 2014, a second smaller Dodge crossover is planned to replace the current Journey.
Dodge is also expected to debut a four-door sedan, at the Detroit auto show in January. The model will replace the outgoing Caliber hatchback.
The next-generation full-sized minivan, due in 2014, will be offered only by the Chrysler brand. The crossover that Dodge will offer in lieu of a minivan is meant to appeal to Grand Caravan customers looking for space, flexibility and sportiness. “A crossover is more in line for Dodge to cover that segment than it is for anybody else to cover that segment,” Marchionne said.