Chrysler/Fiat’s branding strategy is quite curious. They’re doing things right now that is unprecedented in modern times. First of all, they are proliferating individual brands. The Ram truck was split off from Dodge into its own division, complete with its own website – despite being sold in the same dealer. Then you have Street Racing Technology, which the company is trying to pitch as its own division, with its own marketing and the like.
Then Fiat is added into the mix, which has gotten an entire line of dedicated studios. And don’t forget Alfa Romeo, whose return is just around the corner. It all seems like a jumbled mess. Then you have to think about the Chrysler brand. What is its wheelhouse and where will it be positioned in the future? What is happening at Dodge? It is very unclear what the overall strategy is, if there is any.
Dodge was supposed to focus on performance, along with Alfa Romeo. That meant the hot-selling Grand Caravan minivan was supposed to be axed, along with the Avenger. But then you have the utterly mainstream Dart being launched in the midst of all this. Dodge should be the mainstream brand at the Chrysler Group, with Chrysler as luxury/mid-luxury and Alfa Romeo going against the European luxury brands. Jeep’s mission is well defined. But we digress. It appears Chrysler may be going back to a sane strategy.
As we mentioned earlier, the Avenger was supposed to go away in its next-generation, with a Chrysler and Alfa Romeo mid-sizer based on the platform. Now, USA Today reports that the Avenger could live on, in an effort to increase the amount of models (for economies of scale) on the platform.
Finally something is making sense. In fact, if any car should be being killed, it should be the Chrysler 200. Chrysler will ever have a shred of hope in being a luxury brand if cars like the 200 continue to stick around. At this point it would probably be better to focus on Alfa Romeo in the United States. The Avenger and next-generation 200 are expected to make their debut next year.