To be more precise, has Fiat-Chrysler proved the naysayers wrong?
This coming November, it will be five years since Fiat took control over a then bankrupt Chrysler. CEO Sergio Marchionne, at the time, had an aggressive five year plan to not only get Chrysler back on track as a powerful and relevant US automaker, but also to reintroduce Fiat back to a skeptical US market. It was a challenge people like Marchionne crave. In the next week or so, Marchionne will lay out his next five year vision.
This time, however, the Fiat-Chrysler merger has been complete, and its US government loans have been repaid.The latter is quite an accomplishment, but let's take a look at what else has happened since 2009. First off, the Fiat 500 has been a solid success in the US, considering its small size. The 500L? Not so much. Look at Dodge and it's obvious how much time and attention it's been receiving as of late. The heavily refreshed 2015 Challenger and Charger are prime examples. On the downside, the Dart hasn't been quite the success Marchionne wanted. Things over at Chrysler and Jeep are looking really solid as well.
The new 200, though launched later than planned, looks very promising and the Jeep Cherokee, whether or not you like its front-end styling, is actually competitive. The new Renegade will also help attract new customers away from the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul. Then there's the SRT Viper. A niche model for sure, but it's a proper Viper through and through. So what was the most unrealized Marchionne goal? The revival of Alfa Romeo in the US. As of now, only the 4C is ready and that even suffered far too many delays. We still don't have a clear answer. Overall, however, Chrysler (sorry, Fiat-Chrysler) is alive and well, and for that alone everyone should be thrilled.