Fiat Chrysler is confident its US passenger car line-up will remain relevant.
As SUVs and crossovers continue to thrive, the passenger car market is rapidly shrinking. It isn't disappearing, however. Ford is killing every passenger car in its current line-up apart from the Mustang to focus on SUVs, and General Motors recently scrapped several Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick sedans. Fiat Chrysler, on the other hand, is confident its passenger cars will remain relevant in the US.
Speaking with Automobile, head of FCA passenger car brands Steve Beahm said how the Dodge Challenger and Charger have bucked the trend and continue to sell well despite their age. "I can't deny that there has been a trend of fewer passenger cars across the industry," he admitted. "I think that our company saw that maybe quicker than some others. And we made steps or changes within the company to deal with that. What we decided was that once that happened, our job was to [ask,] 'How do we differentiate within the brands that are going to remain passenger-car brands?'"
Beahm believes the key to the continued success of the Challenger and Charger is the distinctive designs that make them stand out from rivals. With this in mind, FCA sees little point in overhauling the Challenger and Charger and will simply update the existing Challenger and Charger platform for the next generation. "I'm going to use a bad phrase here, maybe. It's like fine wine, it keeps getting better with time," Beahm said when discussing the current platform.
When the discussion turned to the Chrysler 300, Beahm implied the full-size sedan could live on, contrary to reports that it's getting the chop. "You know, in terms of its (sales) performance, it's doing great," he said. "We like where it's positioned; it provides great value. It's a lot of car for the money."
"We haven't announced we will discontinue it. I mean, we've announced we'll sell it through this year," he said when asked about rumored plans to kill off the 300. Originally, the plan was to replace the existing 300 with a new sedan underpinned by the front-wheel-drive platform of the Chrysler Pacifica, but Beahm admitted this wouldn't be a good idea. Hopefully, this means the 300 will get a successor or a significant revamp next year.