Chrysler Confident Its Passenger Cars Will Be Relevant In The U.S.

The industry may be shifting away from typical passenger cars and producing SUVs and crossovers in increasing numbers, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t intend on slashing its car line-up like Ford did. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it sees a bright future for its cars.

As FCA has a number of manufacturers under its wing, it’s been able to determine which of its brands will remain focused on passenger cars and which won’t.

Speaking with Automobile about this, head of FCA passenger car brands Steve Beahm used the example of how the Dodge Challenger and Charger continue to sell well despite their age.

“I can’t deny that there has been a trend of fewer passenger cars across the industry,” he admitted.

“I think that our company saw that maybe quicker than some others. And we made steps or changes within the company to deal with that. What we decided was that once that happened, our job was to [ask,] ‘How do we differentiate within the brands that are going to remain passenger-car brands?’ ”

According to Beahm, one of the reasons behind the continued success of the Challenger and Charger, despite their age, are the unique designs they have, ensuring they stand out from rivals.

With this in mind, FCA sees little point in overhauling the Challenger and Charger. A couple years ago, the late Sergio Marchionne said the duo would be updated and based around the Giorgio platform of the Giulia and Stelvio. However, the company has since changed its plans and will simply update the existing Challenger and Charger platform when the time comes to launch the next generation.

“I’m going to use a bad phrase here, maybe. It’s like fine wine, it keeps getting better with time,” Beahm said of the platform used.

The the Chrysler 300 is another story altogether. The company intended on replacing the existing 300 with a new sedan underpinned by the front-wheel drive platform of the Chrysler Pacifica. Plans appear to have changed again, and FCA has said it will only sell the 300 until the end of this year, which leads us to believe that a successor (or at least a revamp) is due for 2020.

“In terms of its (sales) performance, it’s doing great,” Beahm said about the big Chrysler sedan. “We like where it’s positioned; it provides great value. It’s a lot of car for the money.” He also agreed with the Automobile journalist that switching the 300 to a front-wheel drive platform was a bad idea.

If the Dodge Challenger and Charger prove anything, it’s that FCA customers are rather fond of vehicles that stand out, even if they have outdated underpinnings. Who knows, the Chrysler 300 may set sales charts alight if it remains in production for the long term.

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  • charlotteharry57

    See Ford and GM? Hope FCA wins and you lose. Interesting thing, though, is that FCA’s sedans are not exactly recession-busting vehicles. So, I’m not sure they’d make out any better than the hoardes of overpriced CUVs, SUVs and pickups.
    Interesting about the 300, but also confusing. I have no idea what FCA’s plans are for it other than keeping it RWD.

    • TheAmerican2point0

      FCA is the only one with designs that look amazing now, and still will in 50 years. FCA knows what they’re doing.

    • MarketAndChurch

      Ford and GM are raking in tons of profit because Fiat would rather bleed out dodge and chrysler than give them more SUV’s.

  • MarkoS

    These days, new platforms are over rated. I have never understood to fix something that is not broke. There is no reason a good platform can not evolve with time. I much rather see design updates. I think we are going to start seeing a trend towards this especially with the onslaught of electric vehicles. FCA, should concentrate on materials, quality, fit and finish. They could also use a cooperative partnership, Nissan needs a new one.

    • designer_dick

      Not gonna happen. Renault isn’t just Nissan’s alliance partner, it also owns a controlling 43% share of the company.

      • MarkoS

        Stranger things have happened. We know the numbers.

        • designer_dick

          You really don’t. Renault might be the smaller of the two companies, but nothing can change the fact that it owns 43% of Nissan, while Nissan only owns a 15% non-voting share in Renault, giving the French side of the Alliance unassailable control over decisions.

          • MarkoS

            Nope.

      • Alduin

        Renault is The problem with Nissan and their overall crappy product line. Get rid of Renault and Nissan will do a lot better.

        • designer_dick

          How you do propose they ‘get rid’ of their largest shareholder? It would be like expecting Kia to get rid of Hyundai.

          • Alduin

            Easy tell Renault that Nissans buying the shares and tells Renault to GFTS.

          • designer_dick

            Renault would have to be willing to sell the 43% of shares it owns, and there’s no indication they’d be amenable to doing anything of the sort.

          • Alduin

            Then Nissan should go rogue.

    • BlackPegasus

      I agree in theory. The 300 has the underpinnings of the old Mercedes E class sedan. It’s solid! If the platform performs well there is no need to change it unless innovation of newer platforms has rendered the former obsolete or less safe.

      • MarkoS

        Old pattern, new materials and modifications.

    • Bash

      Well said!

    • Craig

      I absolutely, positively AGREE!!

    • MarketAndChurch

      I want more muscle cars on these same platforms.

    • Alduin

      I think in order to survive,Nissan needs to get rid of Renault and partner with Mitsubishi which they own now.

  • Nordschleife

    So FCA is just going to ride out refreshes until sedans become in Vogue?

    • LeStori

      Personally I cannot see the reason for the obsession with SUVs. Their luggage capacity is small compared to their exterior size. Inherently more unstable and prone to rolling because of their higher centre of gravity. And are average drives. Now I understand the need for genuine off road vehicles but SUVs… they are a fashion statement.

  • Blade t

    Would be cool to see a new 300 made..

    • Bash

      Heck and a new charger/challenger. They all use the same old Mercedes E underpinnings.

  • Nihar

    Keep the 300. Push the boundary of Luxury. Maybe rename it Imperial.

    • Mike anonymous

      Craig!.. Craig where are you?

      (Also P.S. I definitely agree) Chrysler by Mercedes Benz (the previous owners before FCA) was held back at the turn of the century from actually becoming the luxury brand they wanted to and Mercedes essentially canceled all of their ‘high-end’ products in fear they would compete with things such as the S-Class, SLR McLaren, (event canceling their DB9 competitor (both shown below) which was full developed (engine and all), just awaiting the green light).
      With FCA they have been on the back burner, but I would love to see them create and develop luxury vehicles as they should.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/48260f2b2275737a67610846a8b74aa7d01c39b5be4b544760cf0f40ff24883a.png
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c1126ee432fc623fdf0ec3ddd8c1af4379dcde04e8c517eab8b7c3bcb873df0.png

      • SteersUright

        What a handsome coupe design, even the interior looks great still today. Shame they never made any of their cool coupe concepts.

      • Craig

        Hi Mike. My laptop died so I’ve been using my brother’s old XP. [Yes – it still works – but I can’t START comments here only post replies] That said… Chrysler – before being scooped up by money hungry MB – had some great concepts – as you know. Would be great to see some of them come to life.

    • Bash

      Craig will love that!

      • Craig

        That’s for sure. But it worries me. If the 300 isn’t going to be sold after this year – what will be? “FCA has said it will only sell the 300 until the end of this year..”

        • Bash

          As in the current model i read, they will bring another model with new chassis and all. I just can’t find the article now. i just recall reading last oct-nov.

          • Craig

            At least the death of the 300 isn’t still being talked about. [So it seems . Fingers crossed!]

  • Navy Pier Morroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I remember four years ago, there were rumors about General Motors is going to discontinue the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse, and I knew the XTS will be discontinued but it caught me by surprise because I didn’t know the new Cadillac shield would have made it to the XTS in 2015, and once again, for 2018, the car was significantly refreshed. Moreover, the same has been said about the Chrysler 300 future for quite a while. I think of FCA would discontinue the Charger, keep the 300 as a rear-wheel drive, luxury/sports sedan and keep the Dodge Challenger, the automaker could increase profitability easily.

  • Mr. EP9

    Their sedans are doing better than GMs so I say they’re already relevant.

  • Mike anonymous

    If you want my personal opinion, I think that Chrysler has a number of vehicle designs that (since the industry has progressed enough) could actually be built as is (as production vehicles) today. They had some really great INTERIOR DESIGN and I actually kind of liked the unique and quirky look of vehicles such as the ECO-Voyager, 200C EV, & AKINO, concepts.
    It would be really nice to see them be made. Although the AKINO is a stretch, I could legitimately see the ECO-Voyager & 200C Concept, be Brought back in the form of plug-in hybrids.

    ECO-VOYAGER CONCEPT
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f910616d9e1b6c575dd467a299ba2a162c392d36b66b2d2f444455d85fd6b43d.png
    (People may disagree, but with a beautiful interior, and a unique exterior (in addition to the hybrid powertrain) I actually started to come to like the eco-voyager). I love the ‘fin’ tail light in the back, it reminds me of some hypercars.

    200C EV CONCEPT
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4ff67218d86b576e5c88807d9c7bc25771b2225a0d98749f71065b8a8a1d63ac.png

    AKINO CONCEPT
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a8e73093d52588d3cd105e72ca3d00eb206b74536e584bc787a19cfca05bfb3.png

    • Matteo Tommasi

      Those are ugly, out of the market cars, something that can bring you to failure things

    • Danny Boy

      What the 200 should’ve looked like!

    • MarketAndChurch

      The Chrysler 300m and Concord were the first two cars that got me into car design, and later, in the 6th grade, the Jaguar XJ, but yeah, Chrysler has a rich rich history of great designs. Going forward, I really think that Chryslers should look like a cross between Genesis, Bentley, and Volvo.

      • Joe E

        The Concorde, 300M, and second-gen Dodge Intrepid had the same effect on me. They were truly stunning designs, and amazing coming from the K-cars not just 10 years before. I even convinced my mom to get a 300M back in 2001 (she still has it — apparently the 3.5L V6 used at the time turned out to be pretty reliable). Too bad overall quality wasn’t better.

  • Navy Pier Morroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    This ad seems shady, this Durango is advertised for $31k, but it says here best for UNDER $31k. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7b55d7c0a509576aa5ab7ca9aa844d82e5be9ab9d29430b03e658dec74d4afb9.png

  • FactChecker90803

    Could not agree MORE!!, I am the proud and very satisfied owner of a 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, most fun sedan I have ever owned, 707+++ HP (++, because my son’s and I have already tweaked the engine), take note Ford, and build a 4-Door sedan of the Mustang when it migrates to your new CD6 Modular Platform.

    • S3XY

      Test drive a P100D and you’ll want to sell your hellcat after.

      • FactChecker90803

        My mother inlaw who is an attorney, since 2013 she has owned 3 Tesla S class sedans, the P85D, P90D and as of Jan 2018 the Ludicrous P100D.

        I have been both a scared passenger and a deranged driver of all 3, but my favorite of all her cars, is her 2013 C6 Corvette 427 Convertible that she had upgraded with a Katech Street Attack Z06 kit, 650 HP normally aspirated LS7 V8.

        That car plus my 2019 SRT Hellcat are way more fun to drive than the Tesla S, just something visceral, animalistic about the Noise, Vibration and Feeling of an ICE engine, one feels connected to the vehicle and the road, in a Tesla I felt more like I was inputting course corrections and directions into an operating system.

      • Alduin

        Teslas are garbage.

        • LeStori

          Saw a lot of Teslas when visiting Norway. They typically looked very run down. Especially for a vehicle that costs so much at retail level.

      • DMJ

        Tesla is a great car, and very fast. But if you are a true petrolhead, you understand that driving pleasure is not only about the speed. Is handling, fan, noise, sensations. That’s why low powered cars like the Miata or the Abarth 500 are so fun to drive.
        I am a true petrolhead, and I like Teslas too. But 0-100km/h (0-60 miles) is not everything.

  • SteersUright

    I think there remains a ton of love for the large, V8, American sedan and large coupe. The fact that Chrysler/Dodge has milked this and continued to sell a massively old platform (dates back to 90’s Mercedes e-class), it a crime. The 300c was groundbreaking when it launched and the entire series it underpins truly deserved a thoroughly modern makeover.

    • Craig

      Actually… the 2011 update left most of that 1990’s Mercedes E-Class platform behind. That said.. I love how my 2006 300C SRT8 drives so I’ve never been bothered by the ‘massively old platform’.

  • erly5

    Glad to see FCA not going down the Ford route of abandoning this sector altogether.

  • MarkoS

    I like Imperial for a new flagship electric. 300 has some history as well and serves well for a performance sedan. Yes, it needs some work.

    • Navy Pier Morroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      No, the Imperial should be a stand-alone halo car (which will never happen), maybe it can be a full-size SUV from Chrysler with electrification!

      • MarkoS

        A new Imperial could be many things, It will not likely replace the 300 badge however.

  • S3XY

    Make them electric if you want to be relevant.

    • Alduin

      So the batteries crap out 8 years later and costs a fortune to replace? Hell no.

      • Craig

        And where are all of those dead batteries going to go? We have yet to fully realize the negative side of EV’s. But there are definitely going to be some.

        • Alduin

          Yes exactly lithium isn’t renewable and the process to get it isn’t very eco-friendly either.

    • no25

      Electric has nothing to do with relevancy. Maybe you shouldn’t be so far up Tesla’s butt and that may make your comments less troll-like.

  • Six_Tymes

    Their QC has improved over the past few years, so thats a good sign.

  • YUDHA BAGASKARA

    chrysler would regret the decision to end 200’s production

    • Craig

      What they probably regret is not making that beautiful 200 ‘Concept’ a reality.

  • no25

    Then why discontinue the 200?

  • TB

    Chrysler needs to be taken out to the back of the barn and put out of it’s misery. They have a dated sedan and a sub-par mini-van in their line up in the US. That’s all. They should just close up shop & continue to milk the people who still buy their crappy Dodge product.

  • Will Stonehocker

    Come on Chrysler!

  • Classic Bob

    How about a new crossover for Chrysler and/or Dodge..? Might help keep the brands a bit more relevent than just rehashing old (though still desireable) sedans..

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