Alfa Romeo 4C

Rumors have circulated over the past few months among the automotive press that Dodge, a venerable American automotive brand, could be getting the axe from ChryslerFiat boss Serigo Marchionne.  The reason for this is simple, Dodge doesn’t make sense for the overall goals of the company.

Before we get boatloads of hate mail for even running this article and editorial, Dodge fans need to think about the fact that the “Dodge” moniker was dropped from the truck division which is now known as “Ram Trucks.”  Also the Dodge Viper is not called that by the company but is either referred to as “Viper” or “SRT Viper” in press material they company circulates.  Since the truck division is considered a strength of Chrysler and the Viper is the company’s flagship model many considered both moves a bit odd at the time.  These leaves auto journalists and analysts under the impression that executives wants to drop Dodge altogether and not just on the names of some vehicles.

It’s not that Dodge doesn’t have value and that it isn’t a good marque for Chrysler-Fiat.  It just doesn’t make sense for the company’s future plans.  It’s clear that sergio Marchionne wants to bring back Alfa Romeo, a luxury Italian brand, back to the US market.  To do this they will want to utilize the existing dealership infrastructure the company already has.  However Chrysler dealerships already have a lot of brands to offer to customers and the showroom might be getting a bit crowded to showcase so many different automakers cars in the same place.  Could Dodge get booted out of dealerships to make way for Alfa Romeo?

Recently Aaron Turpen cited that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the official corporate name for the company, released a new FCA logo.  While the new logo isn’t anything to really talk about is shows that Marchionne doesn’t want to live in the past and is focusing on the future of his auto companies.  With a weakened European market the FCA alliance is working on becoming leaner to stay alive and relevant.  Is importing sexy Italian cars the way to do that?  Possibly.

Dropping Dodge would have benefits for FCA.  They wouldn’t have to cross promote models against Chrysler and Jeep.  The marketing and advertising budgets could be focused on bringing in Alfa Romeo as a brand into the minds of US consumers.  Of course one look at an Alfa Romeo I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t hesitate to buy one since they are gorgeous cars.  (Cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C are hard to forget.)  Additionally since Alfa Romeos are luxury cars they would charge a premium on them which means FCA would make better profits on.  

The disadvantage is that an Alfa Romeo buyer… well that’s a lot different than a Dodge, Chrysler, or Jeep buyer.  This is something that Fiat has experienced firsthand as these small Italian cars sales numbers are nowhere near what FCA anticipated.

Do you think it makes sense for Dodge to get the axe to make way for Alfa Romeo?   Should Sergio Marchionne think of something else, like axing Chrysler?

Article originally published here

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Adam has always loved cars and anything with wheels. When he is not writing about interesting stories you might find him jamming on his saxophone, watching movies, creating art, or playing with his two dogs.

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7 thoughts on “Will Dodge get the Axe to make way for Alfa Romeo?”

  1. That’s a tough one. I understand how old Dodge and Alfa Romeo are, but it would make more sense to have Alfa Romeo survive, considering the remarkable comeback its made. Having said this, the brand Dodge is rarely mentioned anymore, and I can see how FCA would want to streamline the process. After all, GM did and is doing better, despite the booing.

    I don’t see Alfa Romeo competing against Dodge. Alfa has received a lot of applaud, it makes the best business sense.

    If you look at Alfa Romeo, it first started out as a race factory. WWII pushed it into making little performance sedans. Sorry BMW, ten years before you did 😉 Finally, it collapsed enough to be handed to FIAT. Anyone who knows about the history bad blood between these companies can draw a more accurate picture of this bitter-sweet victory for FIAT. Last the U.S. knew about Alfa Romeo was affordable performance machine. Turning this venerable company into a luxury Italian brand would not be smart. We already have Ferrari, Maserati takes care of the luxury, Alfa Romeo should maintain the disruptive image it always had, a lot of bang for your bucks. Having said this, I see how Marchionne would be tempted to replace Dodge with Alfa Romeo.

    So how is that going work out with Mazda sharing the next Spider platform?

  2. I don’t see FCA dropping Dodge. Dodge is its best selling brand, with more than 500,000 units sold annually. How will FCA replace the lost sales — through the Chrysler brand?

    The company is already too truck/utility top heavy and needs cars that will help keep it going and meet ever stringent EPA mandates. I don’t see Alfa Romeo developing into more of a bit player.

    I look for FCA maintaining its current brands with perhaps the Chrysler brand itself canceled at some point.

    1. For a lot of Dodge vehicles you could throw “Chrysler” on them and I doubt it would affect sales too much. Besides FCA puts a lot more marketing money behind Chrysler.

      That’s exactly the point. Chrysler is still too truck dependent and a serious move into the luxury vehicle space would be a good move for the company. The Dodge Dart is already sort of an Alfa Romeo.

      Even if you don’t like Chrysler Matt, the brand isn’t going anywhere. The reality is they don’t have the resources to promote several brands and something has got to go. Maybe Jeep?

      1. Sadly, you are right. With the over-used of rebadging cars, most Dodge cars could get by with a Chrysler sticker. Chrysler has a ticket in the luxury market with its 300, but it will need a lot of help from FIAT in order to get there. A little bit of Maserati touch here, and the 300 platform could do much better than it has so far.

        And anyway, there is always tomorrow to relaunch old brands. Datsun anyone?

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