Chrysler brand not dead – but worse?

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Amidst rumours of being killed off, Chrysler now faces bold new future

Earlier this week, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne followed up his 2014 five-year plan announcement with the future roadmap announcement for the automotive group’s next five-years.

The 93-year old Chrysler brand will shift focus from passenger cars to the minivan and people mover division of the Fiat group, further synergising an ongoing technological partnership with Google’s autonomous mobility firm, Waymo.

In regards to Chrysler, Marchionne stated to British publication Autocar that: "The minivan business space will be filled by Chrysler, filling the mobility solution in the US market."

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The announcement focused heavily on Jeep, and the Ram brand future lineups, as well is its Italian marques, such as Fiat and Maserati. Dodge  conversely, still has a strong presence in the US, and will continue championing FCA’s performance arm.

"Dodge needs to continue the particular space as a performance brand, and we need to continue to build on that core skill".

Last week, rumours were awhirl around iconic Chrysler brand’s impending death.

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In the lead up to this week’s  five-year plan announcement, many noted a distinct lack of mention for the Chrysler brand, while future plans for Jeep, Maserati and Fiat were already public.

Many took it as writing on the wall for the Chrysler name, given recent years of inactivity – with the Chrysler 200 being binned overseas, leaving only the aging 300 and Pacifica people mover as the sole offerings in their North-American home market.

The 300 remains Australia’s sole Chrysler product. And while there have been many speculations of its successor, none have ever materialised, and nothing has been announced.

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While the Chrysler name seems to have escaped fatality for now, its new focus on minivans and autonomous people movers is a far cry from the cars we know and love the brand for.

It’s a stark reminder of the future we live in, and might represent the slow fizzle out of one of the US’ most iconic and historic brands.

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