Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has purposefully delayed the redesign or release of new vehicles in North America to try and save money.
Suppliers familiar with FCA’s plans told Reuters that the company has had an unusually high number of delays, giving FCA more time to search for partners who could help shoulder the cost of vehicle development. It’s no secret that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to oversee a merger between FCA and another major automaker, to cut down on money wasted by multiple companies developing the same technologies separately.
Recently, redesigns of the Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler have both been delayed as Marchionne searches for a partner. Last year, the company released a five-year plan outlining future vehicle timelines. Since then, 12 future vehicle programs from Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler and Maserati have been delayed, in some cases for over a year. Suppliers close to the company say that last-minute design and engineering changes are at fault for some of the delays, including many that could reduce FCA’s investment.
High-profit vehicles, like the Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler, have been made a priority for redesign, though both have been delayed compared to their original timeline. The redesigned Ram 1500 is now slated for launch in November of 2017, while the new Wrangler has been pushed back to a July 2017 release date.
A redesigned Grand Cherokee is also coming, though it may be delayed by a full year according to the supplier, putting its launch sometime in fall of 2018. A replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot has also been delayed by six months from a proposed launch in spring 2016.
The Dodge Dart and Journey have been pushed back even further, and will likely get a full redesign by 2019-2020. Plans for new crossovers from Chrysler have been pushed very far back or even shelved according to the supplier, while the Charger, Challenger and Chrysler 300 will see a full redesign a year late, likely coming in 2019.
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