Posted by: Jerry Garrett | September 8, 2015

FCA: The World’s Most Interesting Car Company

A "What's New for 2016" event recently in Chelsea, Michigan, for FCA's next top models. (FCANA Blog)

A “What’s New for 2016” event recently in Chelsea, Michigan, for FCA’s next top models. (FCANA Blog)


CHELSEA, Michigan

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, with apologies to that Dos Equis guy, is the most interesting car company in the world.

I mean, it’s not even close. Consider the vehicles the combined companies make, like the Dodge Challenger (and Charger) Hellcat, the Jeep Wrangler, the SRT Viper, the Alfa Romeo 4C, the Fiat 500, and the Maserati Ghibli. And don’t even get me started on all the Ferrari models.

Its Ram pickups are huge sellers, as is the whole Jeep lineup. They smash sales records every month.

But therein lies the trouble – and the key reason why the company’s leader Sergio Marchionne keeps trying to find another automaker, General Motors in particular, to merge with FCA. Aside from the trucks and SUVs, FCA doesn’t really have enough big, high-volume brands. No Chevrolet, no Ford, no Toyota, for example.

Quarter-mile commute: Dodge Hellcat at dragstrip.

Quarter-mile commute: Dodge Hellcat at dragstrip.

Most of their vehicles, like the 707-horsepower Hellcat models, appeal to niche audiences. The $60,000+ vehicles are money-makers, in and of themselves, but they aren’t selling in big enough volumes to generate the billions that an automaker needs to develop future models.

“You can put lipstick on the pig for a while by doing things like the Hellcat,” former GM executive Bob Lutz said in an Automotive News article this week. “That’s great; it probably makes a lot of money. But that isn’t the future.”

The future, therefore, for FCA, needs to hold a merger. Merely being interesting may not be enough to pay the bills.

Jerry Garrett
September 8, 2015

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