Fiat Could Kill off Dodge by 2016: Report

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Fiat Could Kill off Dodge by 2016: Report
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Dodge’s ranks have been thinning ever since RAM took over the pickup truck business, and next year, Chrysler’s volume brand will cease production of the Avenger, leaving behind a gaping hole in its lineup. This raises the question: Is Dodge headed for the crusher?

With these products gone or going, the alarming question has been raised by Ward’s Auto in a recent report outlining the product shortages at Dodge. And the death of new models is going to get worse, Ward’s reports, citing inside sources that at least two more products are already being prepared for migration to Chrysler or discontinuation. Those vehicles are likely the Dodge Grand Caravan, which will probably be sent to Chrysler and sold exclusively as the Town and Country, and the Avenger, which we already know is set to be discontinued.

That leaves Dodge with the Durango, Challenger, Charger, Dart and Journey. The latter two now ride on Fiat derived platforms. The Dart is currently built at the brand’s Belvidere, IL, plant and will be joined by the Chrysler 100 in 2016, while the Dodge Journey/Fiat Freemont replacement is set to be built in Sterling Heights, MI. Thanks to platform sharing, both the Dart and Journey will have a Chrysler or Fiat equivalent vehicle that can step in as their replacement. As for the Challenger, rumors have been circulating about the the Barracuda nameplate being revived and stepping in as a Challenger replacement, possibly as a second stand-alone product under the new SRT brand – the first product being the new Viper.

The Charger doesn’t have a direct copy that could spin off into another Chrysler brand, but the 300 could theoretically pick up the slack, while the Durango is already built alongside the more popular Jeep Grand Cherokee on the same underpinnings.

So it does seam feasible that Dodge could be discontinued and its products spread out between other Chrysler nameplates, but whether or not Fiat wants to keep Dodge around for the long term is another question unto itself. The year 2016 will mark the climax of several product upgrades and manufacturing changes for Chrysler, all of which started in 2009 when Fiat took an equity stake in the company. If Fiat is looking to dump the Dodge brand, it will be decided by 2016 once all of these manufacturing changes take place.

[Source: Ward's Auto]

  • MistyGreen

    No way. There’s no way they’d throw out such a high-profile brand. If they were smart, they’d move Chrysler upmarket, so in a couple years Fiat/Chrysler could actually compete in the premium markets, and leave Fiat as a niche, Euro-flaired brand.

  • David

    You guys like making stuff up or what?

  • smartacus

    I’m totally cool with it. The Dodge Brothers aren’t around to notice.

  • repealobamacare

    Part of why Fiat wanted Chrysler was for its vast dealer network, so they can peddle their Fiat cars here again. First a little badge engineering with the Dart and Journey – next they’ll be selling Fiat’s and Alfa’s……..

    .

  • repealobamacare

    What is Fiat’s niche? Unreliable, quirky cars? I certainly hope they’ve improved since they were exorcised from the US market decades ago…….

    .

  • MistyGreen

    It’s worked for BMW with Mini. I think it’s the only shot Fiat has in America. They’ll never be mainstream in my lifetime, that’s for sure.

  • repealobamacare

    BMW never had a reputation for building crappy cars like Fiat does. And I don’t think the mini brand will be viable for much longer. VW couldn’t sell just air cooled beetles forever, they eventually had to innovate and offer new products.

    Fiat cannot just sell 500’s – they’ll need to start selling other models to become a viable brand here in America.

    Their “multi-air” variable lift system is cool, but what happens to the valve train when oil changes get neglected. A ticking valve lifter is one thing, but now the valve lift control is your throttle! Only time will tell…….

    .

  • NJL

    No worries – the Chrysler/Fiat marriage will only last a few years anyways

  • greg sampson

    After spending that much money to purchase Chrysler why would they (fiat) want to slit there own throat ???? Idiots! French need we say any more.

  • ColumWood

    To play the devil’s advocate. First, they’re just be killing Dodge, not Chrysler, or Jeep. Second… they’d do it as part of a larger plan to get Fiat into the lucrative North American marketplace.

  • PJM361

    Actually, pot calling the kettle black, they’re Italian.

  • PJM361

    I think the biggest mistake is changing the names to Ram & SRT. It all started when the R/T wasn’t the highest performance model of each model. The truck name change is also silly because they are still sold in the same place. It’s hard to have brand loyalty when they keep changing. Also the exterior styling of the older Avenger/Stratus was better than the newer Avenger which they tried to make look like a smaller version of the Charger and it didn’t come out right.

  • Evan hutson

    This article is useless… Just here to ruffle feathers. Dodge will lose a car in a category, yes but a gapng hole??? How many vehicles did they come out with in the past few years? Challenger and the Dart. Making up for any avenger losses I’m sure. They still have their big sellers of the Caravan and the Charger. This was eventually going to happen to the Avenger it was just a plain Jane 4-door where people who wanted a charger will be drawn toward the 4-door stead Charger or the fuel economic dart. Dodge has a characteristic of having sporty cars, and the avenger didnt fit. Dodge will stay.

    If you are worried about how Chrysler and dodge share some of the same ‘underpinning’ look at GMC and Chevrolet. Every vehicle they make do the same thing. It allows for mass production of faster without loss of time re-caliberating their factories. This is just some place and writer who wanted to try and make a name for himself with a front page article and it worked but it is still useless.

  • ramblergarage

    French?? Sorry but Fiat is Italian. Renault, Peugeot are French.

  • ramblergarage

    you hit the nail on the head!!

  • Al

    This article is total horsesh*t – drawing ridiculous conclusions to try and patch together a scenario for the Dodge brand going away.

    Mr Elmer, I hope AutoGuide didn’t pay you very much to write this.

  • posuprstar

    Wait, are you suggesting that Fiat might get the f*ck out of Dodge?

  • DodgeRob

    One thing to remember is Fiat owns not just Chrysler but also Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, and Ferrari. Dodge is nowhere near as important to Fiat as Jeep is which sells to the same people that buy Range Rovers and BMW X-series.A Huge money maker.

  • DodgeRob

    I disagree. Where Daimler kept Mercedes and Chrysler products completely separate with just shared engineering and parts, Fiat is going all out with full platform sharing. The Dart may be a Fiat/Alfa platform but the new Maserati Suv is a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a Ferrari sourced Engine. Fun times to be a Mopar Maniac.

  • PRGAIN

    Yes, it’s Italian as in “Fix It Again Tony”

  • Hudson

    The original article isn’t as far fetched as this version makes it seem. The Journey actually becomes a Chrysler product. The Durango is replaced by the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. What’s left other than the Charger and Dart?

  • Tallen94

    They need another affordable two door sports car with a turbo engine. The Dart is sharp, but I hate that it is a 4 door. I like the 90’s Daytona’s, the Eagle Talons, the 2004 Stratus R/T. I hate 4 door sports cars. Retro style and use some old name plates. The Challegers are nice, but who wants a base model V6, the Hemi’s are so expensive.

  • stringslapper

    Just look at the sales figures, Chrysler brand sales are going downhill, they can’t recall Jeeps fast enough, on the other hand, the old Dodge brand just keeps on churning out higher sales each month with old technology platforms. Why? because it’s a Dodge and that’s what people want. Wake up Marchione! Don’t be another Iacocca and sell us down the river…Bob Lutz was the man by the way!!!

  • Aaron

    “Daimler kept Mercedes and Chrysler products completely separate..”?
    Ever hear of the Chrysler Crossfire? More than just a little shared engineering and parts.

  • Railroad Lover61

    The Company should keep the Dodge Brand going as a medium priced auto that most people can afford. Chrysler on the other hand should be marketed as a Luxury brand like it used to be.(remember the Chrysler Imperial?) The ugley Fiat 500 on the other hand should be buried 120 feet underground. Even the Dart gets better Gas Mileage! And a better value too!
    The Chrysler 200 needs an styling overhaul as well as the Dodge Avenger. Keep both minivans and do a crossover for those who don’t want a minivan and badge it Dodge.

  • DodgeRob

    You are correct Aaron on the crossfire, name some more please.

  • Joe W

    The Challeger ?

  • Aaron

    With a name like “DodgeRob,” I’m sure you know more about this than I do, so I suspect you are funnin’ me. But I’ll bite:

    How about the 300? Six years ago, depending on what engine you got, the transmission could be mercedes, the complete front and rear suspensions were mercedes, the differentials, and alot of the electronics were mercedes. Half of the parts on the car actually have mercedes part numbers along side the mopar part number.

    PS- I’m a fan of dogpile. I never use google when I’m looking for something on the net to make me look smart.

  • Apache

    I DONT THINK DODGE WILL DIE…IT WILL MULTIPLY.THEY NEED TO BRING THAT GOOD OL MUSCLE CARS BACK….EACH ONE OF THEM, CLOSE TO ORIGINAL BODY STYLES. I THINK DODGE GOT THE SEXIEST CARS OUT THERE PERIOD.

  • Chris Winter

    Just sell the Charger and Challenger in Australia FFS!!!!!!! Chrysler 300 SRT8 (I own a 5.7 06 300C) is the only affordable option over hear. I WANT A CHALLENGER!!!!

  • Benjamin B.

    These “muscle cars” you speak of are crazy expensive to drive and maintain. Anyway, the heavy Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger both will be replaced soon. The Challenger, which has a hard time competing with the likes of the lighter Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camero, is already set to be discontinued and replaced with a lighter SRT model. The Charger sedan has been “face lifted” once, while the technical specs have stayed the same. The Challenger and Charger share a platform with the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum (rebadged as a Chrysler 300 variant in Europe), which rely on the old M-B E-Class underpinnings. A replacement is very unlikely since the Italian-Canadian FIAT-Chrysler boss doesn’t like product overlapping in markets. A new large Chrysler model is more likely. As for the Durango, since it is basically an extended wheelbase, seven-passenger version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee five-passenger SUV, it would be easy to remake into a Jeep model: reintroduce either the Commander or Wagoneer nameplates. Anyway, the M-B ML-Class platform the Grand Cherokee and current Durango (old one was based on Ram and Dakota underpinnings) share will need to be updated in several years, as M-B and Chrysler are divorced much like Ford and Mazda. The crossover SUV Journey will soon share platforms with the Alfa-based Dart as well. If the Durango is replaced with a Jeep model and the Charger is discontinued, Dodge will become an exclusively compact brand. Did I just say that?

  • Benjamin B.

    Sergio doesn’t like product overlap. The Durango is an extended wheelbase Jeep Grand Cherokee and is a direct replacement of the Jeep Commander. The Durango, dare I say, can be remade into a new Jeep Wagoneer. The heavy E-Class-based Challenger and set to expire. The former will be replaced by a new SRT Barracuda and the latter will be replaced probably (speculating) by the next generation Chrysler 300, leaving an exclusively compact (dare I say that) Dodge lineup. The Avenger, which has a name middle school-aged boys know and love very well, will be discontinued when the new 200 is introduced. The Chrysler company mini/medium-sized vans are rumoured to be replaced by a full-sized crossover vehicle, as GM did. Ram trucks will import one smaller van (to replace the Ram C/V) and one larger van (rear-wheel drive to compete with the M-B Sprinter and Ford Transit) from Europe within the next coming years. The future looks like as if Dodge will become a compact automaker. Bye, bye muscle cars.

  • Benjamin B.

    The Dodge brand is junk. Buy a Dodge, need a new car in a few years. The Jeep Grand Cherokee (the higher trimmed models) is a good truck, although it is based on the old M-B ML-Class but worked over by Jeep. The Durango is just an extended wheelbase variant, and therefor could easily be replaced with a new Commander or Wagoneer model. The Challenger, based on the E-Class Mercedes, is much heavier than and not as fun as the pony car competition. The Charger is alright if you are a gangster, athlete, rapper or lesbian, but the Chrysler 300 is better just because it is. The Dart is a half-assed creation. Parts of it like the Alfa platform are good, but others like the mediocre performing engines are so-so. The 2.4L is the one engine to have, skip the turbocharged unit. The upcoming Journey promises to be good, like a cheaper base model Cherokee. Dodge is set to become the premier inexpensive starter compact car brand.

  • Benjamin B.

    SRT Barracuda.

  • Benjamin B.

    Challenger will soon be replaced. The minivans will be replaced by a series of full sized crossovers, as GM did with its minivans. The next generation Charger could go away, as Sergio does not like brand overlapping (such as what GM famously does). Heck, the Caravan could go away also. If the Durango is remade into a Jeep model, Dodge could become America’s premier compact brand. I should not keep saying this. Like Beetlejuice, it probably will become fact.

  • Benjamin B.

    Again, how was the Stratus styling better?

  • Benjamin B.

    The Crossfire was based on the then previous generation M-B SLK-Class roadster.

  • Benjamin B.

    The eight speed is sourced by ZF of Germany. The Ram trucks use the same transmission as Rolls Royce, with a dial in place of the shifter.

  • Benjamin B.

    The 300 is an E Class underneath.

  • Benjamin B.

    I’m more inclined to purchase an Alfa or FIAT than a Dodge.

  • Benjamin B.

    Bring over the FIAT Panda 4×4 and the 500X (lifted 500L).

  • James Clements

    Dodge junk? The Challenger is in the top 10 in resale value. Junk doesn’t make it in the top 10 of this list. You just can’t fix stupid. I can see by your comments that you are just a Dodge hater and have no useful information here.

  • James Clements

    Incorrect. Most of the LX platform engineering was done before Daimler took over. The only Mercedes parts are the 5 speed tranny, rear axle, some seat parts, and I believe some steering column components, all added by Daimler to benefit economies of scale.

  • Vasya Bricklyn

    Good riddance. Want a 70’s throwback, men? Be one and build it yourself.

  • Justin Johnson

    It’s always funny when people like you are proven wrong. The whole thing you wrote showed you was talking out your ass.

    And since was these cars crazy expensive to drive and maintain? lol