There have been rumors for at least the last three years about changes rumbling behind the scenes at Chrysler, but now those rumors have either been validated or discredited. All of the brands owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are going through a transformation in the next five years, but the Chrysler brand is going through what is arguably the most extensive makeover. Considering the pathetic, emaciated state of Chrysler at the moment, that’s probably a good thing.
Overall, the plan with Chrysler is to move the brand to a more mainstream position so it is competing with Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai and other such brands around the world. The plan is for worldwide sales of Chrysler-branded vehicles to total 800,000 units by 2018, which is not too much of a stretch considering that Chrysler hit that number back in 2005 before the economy went south. During 2013, the brand sold about 350,000 vehicles.
During the announcement of the changes to the Chrysler brand, there was a big deal made of the brand’s “core attributes” — whatever that means. While concepts like craftsmanship, style, innovation, value and North American production might sound nice, the real news is that the product lineup will be changing significantly. Chrysler retains the Town & Country while the Dodge Grand Caravan goes the way of the dodo. The minivan will launch a new generation in 2016, which will working in a plug-in hybrid version.
Also during 2016, Chrysler will launch the 100 compact sedan, helping the brand flesh out its lineup. In 2017 the brand will launch a new full-size SUV that might use the Pacifica name. Then in 2018, a new midsize crossover that likely will be based on the same platform as the redesigned Dodge Challenger and Charger will debut.