Fiat Chrysler Delays More American Models, New Alfas Fast-tracked

Fiat Chrysler’s latest five-year business plan appears to have gone off course. Some of the planned range of new models now appears delayed, while production of others would seem to have been brought forward.

According to Reuters, sources within the company’s numerous suppliers have confirmed delays for new models in the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler ranges, along with its Italian luxury brand Maserati.

Meanwhile, plans for a reborn range of new Alfa Romeo models may have been fast-tracked, with sources hinting at plans to bring models beyond the new Giulia sedan to market faster than currently scheduled.

Fiat Chrysler’s five-year plan, revealed in May last year, outlined launches for seven new Alfa models by 2018, including a large sedan and two SUV models in 2016 alone.

If this latest report proves accurate, we could see those models sooner – although the difference is likely to be a matter of months, given that we are now half way into 2015.

As for delayed models, Reuters reports that “at least” 12 development and production programs have been delayed, with some postponed by a year or more.

The next-generation Jeep Wrangler is believed to be among the delayed models – likely an easy decision, with the current model still selling well globally – and the new Ram 1500 is also understood to have been put on hold.

A 2017 replacement for the Grand Cherokee is also believed to have been delayed, which will likely also affect timing for the expected Grand Wagoneer.

Likewise, production of new Patriot and Compass models, due to begin next year, is reportedly now more than six months behind schedule.

The London-based Italian-American company’s Chrysler brand has also been affected, with a next-generation 300 sedan now not expected until 2019.

The current model, launched overseas in 2011, was scheduled to be replaced in 2018.

Delays for the Maserati brand were not detailed, although it could mean that the upcoming Alfieri coupe has now been postponed.

Last minute design and engineering changes were blamed for many of the delays, although a number of movements are likely to also be related to budget and investment issues.

Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has been on the hunt for a potential merger or technology partner over the past year, in a bid to reduce costs.

Marchionne is understood to have approached a number of brands, and he recently confirmed an attempt to open discussions with GM boss Mary Barra.

In April, Marchionne released a lengthy essay on the need for more manufacturer to share the burden of development costs, rather than each carmaker investing in their own versions of the same ideas.

“I think it is absolutely clear that the amount of capital waste that’s going on in this industry is something that certainly requires remedy,” he told press during a recent phone briefing. “A remedy in our view is through consolidation.”

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