Fiat Chrysler is putting the brakes on plans to rapidly expand the Alfa Romeo brand. The automaker says it will no longer add eight new models to the lineup by the end of 2018. Now FCA says it will roll out just two new ones by the end of 2017, the Giulia sedan and a midsize SUV.
Why you ask? Well, FCA dropped a bombshell Wednesday saying it is revising its entire production plan with one goal in mind – to put more Ram Trucks and Jeeps on the road.
It’s not hard to see why. The automaker is basically following the trail of money. Demand for SUVs and trucks is high due to low gas prices and FCA doesn’t see that going away.
CEO Sergio Marchionne says low fuel prices are “not expected to fundamentally change directionally,” and that “there’s been a permanent shift toward SUVs and pickups.”
Jeep sales were a record 1.2 million globally in 2015. FCA wants to push that number to about 2 million by 2018.
So with that goal in mind, it leaves little room for former plans to build an entire Alfa Romeo lineup from scratch in just a few years. The Giulia will still happen. It will finally go into production by the end of March and a midsize SUV will come out sometime in 2017. Meanwhile, FCA may partner with other automakers to produce the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.
“We need to re-utilize… plant infrastructure to try and deal with the development of both Jeep and the Ram brands,” Marchionne said.
FCA also plans to work more on hybrids to meet emissions regulations. The Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 are in line for hybrid versions. A four-door Wrangler Diesel is also in the works, but it won’t hit the road for awhile. The next-generation off-roader will be introduced in 2017, and the diesel version several years later.