How To Rebrand Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles: Fiat, Ram & Jeep
Why the need for a Fix?
I was always going to write this article, even before Sergio Marchionne passed. (R.I.P, bless his soul) Then the FCA held a press conference on June 1st of last year, revealing something. Some brands under the company finally got a bright light shined on their future while others got solid plans to continue brand profitability. However, other brands got no attention. And as a company, all the brands under your portfolio should be well planned out and clearly, Chrysler, Dodge & Fiat weren’t well planned out, with Chrysler not even getting mentioned honestly. Brands like Maserati & Alfa Romeo definitely needed the attention they got, but more focus should’ve been given to the overlooked brands. It has been well chronicled of the issues the FCA has with making a competitive vehicle and their lack of interest in some brands. Chrysler is at a point in time where you could make the argument Tesla has surpassed it as part of the American Big 3. Chrysler group or the FCA as its currently known, has always struggled to compete with competition from Ford and Chevrolet. But the more I researched, the more the problems run deep. It eventually became clear that this would have to be an article explaining how I would re-design & market these brands and the products that they sell. Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, I challenge you to do it better.
Delete! Delete! Delete!
[“As for North America, Marchionne said he doesn’t think the brand can “make it.”
“The numbers won’t be big enough,” he added. Consider that a confirmation of Fiat’s eventual demise in North America. (Buyers are already helping it reach that goal.)
When and how the brand disappears remains to be seen.”]
We have Dodge over here, so technically, there is no need for Fiat. I do, however, love a good Abarth. So we send off Fiat with a bunch of Abarth special and final editions. After that, Fiat needs to retreat & let time heal its wounds. We will revisit the brand later.
Ram is a case of powertrain options & the addition of a model or two. A pretty solid brand, there isn’t really much to do. But we go back to the year 2016 for Ram. We need to change the engines choices. The 5.7L V8 with 395 HP is still available but like GM, there should be another option. Boring out the 5.7L V8, the new engine should be a HEMI 6.0L V8 making 440 HP. I’m saying this simply because I feel Mopar should experiment more with this engine. Regardless, this is also the year the Ram Rebel came out and if the Rebel TRX is getting a Hellcat engine, the regular Rebel deserves average Ford Raptor power. A heavy duty version of the 6.4L HEMI still making the same 485 HP will be offered in the Rebel from its launch.
In 2017, that same heavy duty 6.4L HEMI should be an option on the Sport & Night trims. The Ram 2500 Power Wagon, with its updated styling this year, also gets a new engine. A 550 HP 7.0L HEMI. We also introduce the Ram Rebel TRX with a detuned version of the Hellcat engine, a calm 600 HP. Because yes, 600 HP is calm lol. Other than the Rebel TRX getting phased, there are no new changes as the 4th generation Ram gets replaced by the 5th Gen, with 4th generation models getting called the Ram Classic until they stop selling.
In the 2019 model year, the Power Wagon comes back with the 7.0L, now making 580 HP. The engines from the previous generation come back, except now the Rebel solely has the 485 HP 6.4L HEMI V8, as there is no more Sport trim. In 2020, a Rebel TR launches with a supercharged version of the 6.4L, making 580 HP. Also this year, Ram launches a new Mid-Sized pick-up truck. The Ram Dakota is introduced to fight the GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, etc. It will launch with a 3.0L V6 making 310 HP. A 363 HP 5.7L will be an optional engine choice as is a diesel V6. A 440 HP 6.0L HEMI V8 will be available solely in the Rebel trim. But for those wanting more, a “Rampage” package should be offered, offering the 470 HP 6.4L HEMI V8 on the Rebel trim level. Also, the Pro Master & Pro Master City get a complete remodel on an RWD platform. Built to accommodate V8’s, they also receive the 6.0L HEMI V8, but only in 420 HP form as the 5.7L is offered in its 363 HP state. In 2021, we get the Rebel 1500 TRX, in full 707 HP 6.2L HEMI V8 Hellcat glory.
But that’s about it. Ram is an easy brand to modify.
Jeep, on the other hand, while still simple in execution, takes a bit more thought. The rebuild kicks off in the 2020 model year with a new SUV called the Jeep Compass replacing the Renegade, and becoming the smallest SUV on the roster. Using a 1.4L I4 making 190 HP mated to an 8-speed automatic, its also the model with the least amount of HP in Jeep's lineup. The Trailhawk, Deserthawk & Trackhawk trim levels all keep the same mechanical engine and transmissions but suspension & other elements get modified for their specific use.
Meanwhile, the new 2020 Jeep Renegade should be more BMW X1 sized. The Jeep Patriot will be its SUV-coupe sibling on the same platform. Similar to how the BMW X1 has the BMW X2. A new 2.0L Multi-Air I4 making 230 HP should be the focus of these crossovers. Mated to an 8-Speed Automatic, it should perform well. The Trailhawk utilizes the same engine as the other models. Trackhawk and Deserthawk versions will debut later on with a 3.0L Supercharged V6, making 380 HP. Both of these trim levels will get interior luxury goodies.
Replacing what the old Compass used to be is the BMW X3 sized Commander. It’ll be a legitimate 3 row SUV. The Cherokee and Liberty are its siblings of the same size, as five-row variants, although the Liberty is a coupe. All three start off with the new Multi-Air 2.0L but with 20 more HP for 250 HP. Trailhawk, Overland & Summit trim levels benefit from the 3.0L Supercharged V6, still making 380 HP. However, the Deserthawk & Trackhawk trim levels get the 6.4L HEMI V8, making 475 HP here. A new but limited run trim level, the Trackhawk Redwing offers a supercharged version of the 6.4L HEMI, making 550 HP.
The new Grand Cherokee, five-row Commando coupe & their three-row sibling, the Grand Commander, will all also launch in 2020. All three will feature the Supercharged 3.0L V6 as standard equipment with the 6.0L 420 HP V8 as optional on the Trailhawk and standard on the Overland, High Altitude & Summit trim levels. The 6.4L HEMI will also be optional on the Overland-Summit trims in its 485 HP configuration, but standard on the Deserthawk in 550 HP Supercharged configuration. The Trackhawk will make 600 HP from a Supercharged 6.4L V8. The Trackhawk Red Wing will make 717 HP from the 6.2L Supercharged Hellcat motor.
The five-passenger Jeep Wagoneer & seven-passenger Grand Wagoneer are the range toppers. The Grand Wagoneer deals with everything in this segment from the Cadillac Escalade & Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe. The Wagoneer deals with the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, Range Rover, Lexus LX & the Toyota Land Cruiser. Starting with the 380 HP supercharged V6 as a base engine, the 6.0L 440 HP V8 returns as well in the upper trim levels. The Deserthawk trim level uses a Supercharged 6.4L V8 making 575 HP. The Trackhawk makes 717 HP.
The Jeep Wrangler & Jeep Gladiator are also vehicles that get a refresh here. The Wrangler adds the Trailhawk to the lineup in between the Sport S & Sahara trim levels, available in both two & four-door variants. The 250 HP 2.0L I-4 will be standard on the Sport & Sport S trim levels with the 3.0L Supercharged V6, 3.0L diesel V6 or 6.0L 420 HP HEMI V8 as optional engine choices. The Trailhawk & Sahara will come standard with the V6. The Rubicon & MOAB will come standard with the 6.0L V8. Slotting above the MOAB, the Trackhawk trim will get the 485 HP 6.4L HEMI V8. And slotting above that, the Deserthawk will get the supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 Hellcat engine, similar to the Trailcat concept shown a couple years back. The Gladiator has similar trim levels, slotting the Trailhawk between the Sport S & Overland trims. Above the Rubicon, it’ll also get Track & Deserthawk trim levels, however, both will share the 485 HP 6.4L HEMI V8.
As stated in a previous article, the Jeep Trackhawks & now Deserthawks should be treated as Luxury cars. They are a cut above your regular Jeeps & should be treated as such. However, they should continue to do what they are currently doing and undercut the price. My point being the current Trackhawk is an 80K car vs the 101K+ BMW X5 M. However, they should be treated as luxury vehicles.
Speaking of vehicles that should get treated like luxury vehicles, in 2021, all models get the Ecohawk trim level. These vehicles are hybrids, utilizing the 2.0L I4 making 210 HP and a none-supercharged version of the 3.0L V6 making 300 HP for power outputs ranging between 220 to 310 HP. These Hybrids will also spawn all electric variants in 2024. All safety features standard and all luxury options & amenities should be thrown at the trim level to. It should slot right below the Track or Deserthawk trim levels but above the Summit trim.
Overall, Jeep & Ram are solid brands and the FCA made a solid decision investing its future in these brands. However, in another article, I’ll explain and revamp a brand that wasn’t mentioned nearly as much as it should have been: Dodge.
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© 2019 Joshua Nightshade