The Automotive Industry, Briefly

FCA Has Big Plans

07.08.16 - 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler division of FCA offers us only a few choices, but one new choice that has been shown off and celebrated recently is the Chrysler Pacifica. As the minivan replacement for the Town & Country the Pacifica gives us a minivan that is made for the future with the features we want to admire and enjoy along with the ability to expand the engagement offered in this minivan. While celebrating the unveiling of this awesome new vehicle there was a lot discussed when Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA was present to see what this van is made of and the capability of the plant to give us an idea of what might come next for another model.

The Windsor plant where the Pacifica is made was the topic of discussion with Marchionne hinting that this plant would be capable of producing the next Chrysler 300. That seems an interesting thought since the 300 has typically been a RWD and AWD large sedan and the Pacifica is a FWD mode. Using this plant would mean the platform the Pacifica is built on would be the one chosen for the new Chrysler 300 but that seems to not be as clear as it could be.

Even though Marchionne hinted at using the Windsor plant to produce the next 300 he did not say it would not be a FWD model, nor did he say the platform would be the same as the Pacifica. Marchionne clarified by informing us that the Windsor plant is capable of producing the next 300. This certainly would make for a more streamlined process for the Chrysler name since the 300 is currently produced elsewhere and unless FCA finds a solution the Pacifica and the 300 will be the only models offered by Chrysler once the 200 has completed its model run.

Marchionne has been consistent in stating the company needs a partner to help produce the smaller sedans under their name. The two on the table now are the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart which have been favorites for many years, but are both nearing the end of their generational run and have shown a serious lack of sales over the past few years. If a partner company is not found soon these two models will no longer be offered from FCA and they will be out of the entry level sedan market for good, or at least until a suitable partner is found.

The focus for FCA is moving and has moved to the SUVs and pickup trucks it sells. Currently the Ram pickup is the top selling vehicle for the company in North America and a new model that will be the next generation of the Ram will be on sale beginning in 2018 to be the next significant change in the market for FCA. These trucks along with the Jeep SUVs are some of the most popular vehicles on the road today and help to keep FCA profitable even when there are cars such as the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 bringing the sales totals down.

Will the new 300 be built on the same platform as the Pacifica? I would think so considering Marchionne himself told us the Windsor plant is capable of creating the car. Does this mean it will be a FWD and AWD? That is left undetermined at the moment as we will need to gather more information and wait to see what FCA shows us with the 300 when it’s time to move to the next generation of the car. This will be interesting to follow as we see if all the Chrysler models (now down to two) will be produced at the same plant while sharing a platform.



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