Chrysler Is Doomed
We hate saying that. But recent comments from Chrysler CEO Chris Feuell make no sense. The automaker is killing its popular 300 sedan after 2023, leaving only its Pacifica minivan as the lone model until the company comes up with an EV in 2025. A sedan and minivan are the brand’s entire American lineup. Here’s why Chrysler is doomed.
What does Chrysler offer that Stellantis doesn’t already have?
When FCA became Stellantis in 2021, it gained a ton of new siblings. Just look at the list: Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall joined forces with Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and Maserati. When car companies combine, it’s usually to gain a built-in dealer network or to amortize vehicle development.
Yes, 14 brands are crazy. There is no way you can distinguish that many nameplates. Product overlap is an understatement. It’s why Mercury, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Saturn, et al., no longer exist.
The only thing Chrysler offers that Stellantis didn’t already have is a minivan.
Why isn’t Chrysler benefiting from its European siblings?
With that in mind, and looking at Stellantis’ U.S. brands, we expect two or three on the chopping block. We suggest Chrysler is definitely at the top of that list for numerous reasons. Let’s start with amortization and the lack of models under the Chrysler halo.
Stellantis never sold any of the pre-Stellantis brands in the States that it sells in Europe. With so few Chrysler models, the quickest way to flesh out its product line is to take virtually any of its European siblings and begin badge engineering. They’re 100% sorted out and ready to go. Bam! Instantly, Chrysler has two or three new models for pennies in no time.
Strike 1: With the 300 sedan gone, Chrysler is down to a minivan
But Chrysler hasn’t badge-engineered any models in the Stellantis stable. And starting in 2024, Chrysler will be down to selling only a minivan. With the opportunity of instant models virtually for free, this situation is more than odd. It points to Stellantis starving the brand, not developing it. Strike one.
Feuell told Autoblog there are “quite a bit” of new models coming. But that is the extent of our peek at anything new from Chrysler’s head honcho. What’s more than odd is this was Feuell’s opportunity to tout the gloriousness of its supposedly upcoming Airflow EV.
Strike 2: Where is the Airflow?
You remember the Airflow. No, not the one from the 1930s. We’re talking about the latest concept that debuted at the CES Show last year. The concept is barely a year old, is supposed to bring Chrysler out of the shadows, and is the brand’s first new model since the 2017 Pacifica. For whatever reason, it’s never mentioned in the Autoblog interview. That’s despite the interviewer’s attempts to get Feuell to elaborate on the “quite a bit” line.
Look, we’re glad Chrysler appears to be developing a crossover-like EV. But it won’t see daylight for two more years. And, frankly, there are many EVs like it with more dynamic looks, and many more are in the pipeline for the next two years. Unfortunately, if Chrysler is betting on its future with this one new vehicle until we don’t know when another will appear, that’s a bad sign. Strike two.
Strike 3: The company has been without fresh product for a decade
With the introduction of the Pacifica, Chrysler had three models, including the 300 and 200 sedans. But in 2018, the brand was down to only the 300 and the Pacifica after killing the 200. Going further back to 2015, there was also the Town & Country minivan, based on the Dodge Caravan.
The point of this history lesson is that the company has been without fresh product for a decade. So with that said, having only one model after this year means in consumers’ minds that Chrysler doesn’t exist. It evaporated years ago and is left with one minivan to carry that unimpressive tale for two more years.
Yep, a minivan — an unemotional, shrinking segment. And the Pacifica is seven years old, at that.
Chrysler has no gravitas, passion, or presence in any segment. To buyers, that equals nonexistence amid all the new, exciting vehicles coming out. Strike three.
Where does Chrysler fit in?
Feuell also said, “From 2025 onward, we’ll be entering new market segments that we haven’t been in in a while.”
Any market segment would be new for Chrysler. What is she talking about?
We’ve seen specific new products planned for 2024 and 2025 from Dodge and Ram. We know there’s a serious effort to reimagine Alfa Romeo. Maserati is the high-end, Fiat could be the entry-level, and Ram and Jeep are the juggernauts.
That plainly leaves out Chrysler. It’s doomed.