Auburn Hills / Detroit - Fiat Chrysler captains Sergio Marchionne and John Elkann, heirs to the Agnelli family, have promised a lot. Today they have to deliver. Because today the newly formed global corporation Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is presenting its plan for the next five years.
We Germans know five-year plans from the GDR, which wanted to break into a new social order. Fiat Chrysler also wants to leave: "Today we stand before you as a global car manufacturer." For the first time, Fiat-Chrysler presents itself as a unit.
The employees of both groups, says Marchionne, are "back from hell and have survived". In recent years, the Anglo-Italian conglomerate has primarily invested in Chrysler - in shares such as cars. Without the Europeans (and generous government loans) the lights would have gone out.
All future Alfa models are based on it: Alfa Romeo 4C
Source: Alfa Romeo
At the same time, Fiat was only allowed to present a few and Alfa no new models, in Europe Fiat only invested mini amounts. Why is clear: Chrysler was life insurance with its strong position in the huge US market.
Now, with all understanding of the situation, concrete needs to be found - because as before, it doesn't go on. Marchionne received many advance laurels, in the past six months the price of the Fiat share rose by 50 percent. Marchionne calls the plan presented today “brave and ambitious”. He has no time for half-measures. He also has to make money with Fiat again.
FIAT: MAKE TWO FROM ONE
At the beginning there is another divestment at Fiat: The small SUV Sedici and the Bravo will not be available in 2014. Fiat will drive in two ways in the future: A "reasonable" low-budget Fiat with Panda, Punto and Co, and an "emotional" Fiat around the 500, where it can still cost a little more. Why? The volume brands fight, the premium brands earn the money.
So: a premium range from Fiat. Citroen showed the way with the DS line. This duality is said to begin in the factory, where the "reasonable" Fiat is available in a few items, while the "emotional" Fiat is made to order. The dealers are also to present the model series separately from one another in the dealership.
Of course, the icons Panda and 500 remain, as does the 500L family. 2015 will be followed by a new compact model and a “special vehicle” - probably the Fiat version of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster. The new Punto follows in 2016: Fiat does not want to give up the small car segment, after all, it has sold 22 million cars in 40 years. A compact crossover will follow in 2017. The panda will be revised in 2018.
And the 500? Of all things, the core model of the new, two-part Fiat world is silent for now. Only one thing is clear: a Fiat 500X with all-wheel drive is coming this year.
Things are going well at Maserati. Fiat's luxury brand should serve more segments in the future. The sports coupe Alfieri (photo) and an SUV are planned
Things are going well at Maserati. Fiat's luxury brand should serve more segments in the future. The
ALFA ROMEO: IT STARTS AGAIN
Restart, departure: No Fiat brand needs it more than Alfa Romeo . A long list of motorsport titles won opens the prospect of the future. It should return to its basic values: fascinating engines, great driving characteristics, good power-to-weight ratio, beautiful design. The exciting 4C athlete becomes the template for all other models.
That is why Alfa is now organizationally isolated from the other FCA brands - however, no word was said today about a formally independent company. Under the supervision of two Ferrari managers, 200 engineers plan and build the new Alfa. Your mission: cars that can be marketed globally, but are unique within the group. That should only be measured against one another: German premium brands. And, by the way, on strict deadlines.
There is no longer any question of a new Spider 2015 , instead the open 4C will follow this year. A mid-range model will follow at the end of 2015, and between 2016 and 2018 Alfa plans to add seven new models: a Giulietta successor in two body styles, one in the middle class and one in the upper middle class. Two SUVs and a sporty model - maybe a Spider again. The Mito could then disappear: Alfa no longer wants to operate in the B segment.
The many new models are expected to explode sales from currently 75,000 a year to 400,000.
- MASERATI & FERRARI
RAM trucks remain the most important cash cow in the United States. But: The brand will soon also be selling Fiat Doblo and Ducato
Maserati is already a proud luxury brand and is highly profitable. The Italians earn 15,000 euros per car, or 11.9 percent - a better margin than at Audi or BMW .
The only drawback: comparatively low numbers. That is why Maserati is getting new models. The sports coupe Alfieri 2016, the SUV Levante 2015, a successor to the Gran Turismo 2018. Then there will be six models with the current Ghibli and Quattroporte and an Alfieri convertible. They share many components, which should further improve profitability. The bottom line is Maserati wants to sell 75,000 cars a year in 2018, compared to 15,400 in 2013.
Ferrari is set to launch a new model every year for the next five years. The number could increase from 7,000 to 10,000 cars annually, said Sergio Marchionne. He refused to sell the brand.
JEEP: WORLDWIDE SUV BRAND
It's no longer new what the Jeep brand boss Mike Manley says. The brand becomes Fiat Chrysler 's global SUV label . The dusty Patriot and Compass must give way to a world-class compatible compact class SUV in 2016. 2017 will be followed by new Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.
From summer FCA will build the compact model Jeep Renegade in Italy, later also in Brazil and China. The "Grand Wagoneer" should serve the cravings for really big SUVs in 2018. Jeep plans to double production by 2018, from 800,000 in 2013 to around 1.9 million vehicles. Only about half of these cars are still built in the United States.
In Asia alone, sales are expected to increase from less than 100,000 vehicles to 500,000. In America, the market is saturated and the growth forecast is more modest: from 800,000 to one million.
Chrysler 200: Chrysler should be revived as a brand and concentrate on the mass segment
CHRYSLER & DODGE
The core brand Chrysler is supposed to be back on the road to success: in 2013, it only sold 350,000 vehicles. In five years there will be 800,000 again. The entire range is exchanged for this. There is a Chrysler 100 compact sedan and a Town & Country Minivan 2016. The plug-in hybrid drive is said to achieve a consumption of 75 mpg (corresponds to 3.1 l / 100 km). A big crossover will follow in 2017, also with the alternative drive. Chrysler should consistently stay away from luxury and premium: "our mainstream brand" is what FCA calls it.
This reorientation demands sacrifice: Dodge shrinks the range. The Grand Caravan and Avenger will be discontinued in 2016, and Chrysler should concentrate on these segments. Dodge returns to its roots and becomes a performance brand with a fascination factor.
Motto: "No child ever had a Passat poster in the bedroom". Dodge is limited to four lines: the compact darts, the large charger, the Coupé Challenger and the SUV Durango. The Viper takes on a special role and will receive a facelift in 2015.
FIAT PROFESSIONAL & RAM
The thick ram pickups in the USA, the successful Doblo and Ducato in Europe - in principle it stays that way. However, FCA is looking for internal synergies: US customers can buy the two Fiat models as Ram Promaster, the Doblo becomes Promaster City.
No sales of Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, new models in quick succession and finally a hybrid drive: Fiat-Chrysler wants to invest big . Because the global synergy effects, which should help to save, cost first: Chrysler expects standardization costs of 1.5 billion euros by 2018.
The number of assemblies is slated to decrease from 1,200 to 550, and 18 vehicle platforms will become 15. Nine of these will be used in large numbers, and four core architectures will carry 70 percent of all models in 2018. One of these will probably remain the Compact Wide platform: it already carries Alfa Giulietta, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200, Fiat Viaggio and Jeep Cherokee.