A potential savior has just entered the picture.
It's an open secret Chrysler is in trouble. At present, just three models are sold: the Chrysler 300, Pacifica, and Voyager. The latter two are the same vehicle, only packaged differently. The 300 is aging out and the lack of a single crossover only makes things worse. With the FCA-PSA Groupe merger now complete with the creation of Stellantis, now the world's fourth-largest automaker, talk of Chrysler's future has been in doubt in recent weeks, especially since CEO Carlos Tavares has a reputation for cost-cutting projects (and brands) that lose money.
However, Automotive News reports at least one influential person sees a path forward for Chrysler. David Kelleher, chairman of the Stellantis National Dealer Council, believes the merger provides Chrysler a lifeline, as it has done for Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Equally important, a potential Chrysler rescue plan can be done without a serious investment thanks to shared PSA platforms. "This whole thing started with Chrysler," he said. "I don't want to get emotional about a brand, that's not the case. But I don't want to see a brand like that left at the sideline and just thrown out to pasture." He further said he'd feel "violated" if the nearly century-old brand was dropped.
Stellantis, like fellow Detroit automakers GM and Ford, is expected to embark on an aggressive electrification plan, though details have yet to be announced.
But the writing is on the wall and Kelleher fully acknowledges Stellantis brand dealers must be ready to adapt to this new reality. "In fairness, the manufacturer should have every right to expect that their dealer body is prepared to sell whatever they build," he explained. "So as a network, our dealers have to become a lot better than we probably are now at selling electric. We need to invest in infrastructure, train our personnel and adapt our processes."
Jeep showrooms, in particular, have done an excellent job of attracting customers. As far as Chrysler goes, electrified premium vehicles are likely its best bet and fortunately, the Peugeot and DS brands could provide the ideal platform for that.