The Chrysler and Dodge brands were notably absent from FCA’s Capital Markets event and that raised concerns about the future of both companies.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was worked to ease those fears, but there’s still not a lot of news about their future. That’s changing today as Motor Trend has published a lengthy interview with FCA’s head of passenger car brands in North America.
Steve Beahm said Chrysler and Dodge play an important role in FCA’s future as passenger car brands are responsible for 20 percent of company’s revenue in the NAFTA region. Dodge is the biggest in terms of volume as well as revenue and Beahm noted it will become “America’s sports car brand.”
Dodge is far from a sports car company as a majority of its lineup consists of crossovers and minivans such as the Durango, Journey and Grand Caravan. Beahm suggested this will change in the future as he hinted some of the vehicles “may not fit” with its new focus on performance.
Beahm declined to say which vehicles could be getting the axe, but he implied the Journey and Grand Caravan are living on borrowed time. However, he did confirm both models will continue to be offered for the 2019 model year.
The future of the Durango appears pretty secure as Beahm noted there is an SRT variant which is “one impressive vehicle.” He went on to say the Durango “absolutely” fits in with what Dodge is trying to accomplish.
While Dodge wants to become a sports car brand, it appears there isn’t a future for the Viper. Beahm reiterated Sergio Marchionne’s comment that the model isn’t in the company’s five year plan.
While we shouldn’t exact to see a new Viper anytime soon, Beahm did hint a more Challenger variants. As he explained, “We’ve got some other stuff coming down the road.”
Beahm also hinted the Hellcat engine could be offered in additional models as he said “We’re always challenging our people on the marketing side to come up with what the people want.” As part of that mission, the engine will eventually find its way into the Ram 1500 Rebel TRX.
The situation at Chrysler is bleaker as Beahm said he views the company as a “people movers” brand. He went on to suggest the 300 doesn’t fit in with FCA’s vision for Chrysler, but confirmed the model will continue to be offered through the 2019 model year.
FCA’s previous five-year plan called for Chrysler to receive two new crossovers including one based on the Pacifica. Its future remains uncertain as Beahm stated “It’s not in the future plans Mr. Marchionne spoke about, so I can’t give more details about that.”
That’s not very reassuring, but Marchionne previously said design work has been completed on the crossover and “We can probably get it up and running in 18 months.” Considering that comment was made back in January, the crossover could arrive about a year from now.