Fiat Chrysler Outlines Vehicle Strategy to Dealers – Wall Street Journal
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
NV Chief Sergio Marchionne laid out plans for future U.S. products for 7,000 dealers attending a meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday, presenting a blueprint that included a new plug-in minivan, an updated Dodge Charger and new Jeep SUVs, according to people in attendance.
Mr. Marchionne has made headlines with recent calls for industry consolidation and has been criticized by some competitors and analysts for having a relatively dry product pipeline. The executive, who took control of Chrysler after its 2009 bankruptcy, has ambitious plans for the Fiat Chrysler group following several years of rapid growth in the U.S.
While Mr. Marchionne didn’t show dealers how the next generation of the popular Jeep Wrangler SUV will look, he said the vehicle would achieve 30 miles per gallon, according to dealers in attendance. That is a lofty target for a vehicle long viewed as being more rugged than fuel efficient.
A Fiat Chrysler spokesman declined to comment on the meeting. The next generation of the Wrangler, one of Fiat Chrysler’s bigger profit generators, is due in 2017.
A standout of the presentation was a new Dodge Charger, with dealers likening the model to a four-door version of General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Corvette sports car. The company also plans a new Chrysler crossover vehicle, and two new products for Jeep: a small, compact SUV and the long-awaited larger Grand Wagoneer.
More than a half dozen vehicles were shown to dealers. Auto makers often stage similar future-product events for their retailers, and this is the third one Mr. Marchionne has presided over.
One of the concerns facing Fiat Chrysler has been meeting aggressive fuel-economy mandates set by U.S. regulators for 2025. A plug-in hybrid-electric version of a minivan, a segment where Fiat Chrysler is strong, was shown to dealers Tuesday, and that could help the company better address emissions standards.