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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Shifts Focus to Trucks, SUVs

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, red

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has revised its five-year plan , revealing a shift in focus from cars to SUVs and pickup trucks.

Relatively low gas prices, which company CEO Sergio Marchionne believes will be permanent, was cited as the main reason for focusing on SUVs and trucks.

Marchionne specifically told that “there’s been a permanent shift toward SUVs and pickups.” As such, the Italian-American automotive group will “re-utilize … plant infrastructure to try and deal with the development of both Jeep and the Ram brands.”

The Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart will eventually be outsourced to another manufacturer to free up production space. The two sedans have failed to meet sales targets, so the decision to potentially outsource their development comes as no surprise.

FCA is not new to the increasingly common practice of outsourcing vehicle development and manufacturing. The Fiat 124 Roadster, for instance, is based on the Mazda Miata, and it’s likely the next Dart and 200 will get a similar treatment.

The plan to move Jeep and Ram to the forefront will also delay the North American rollout of the Alfa Romeo brand. While the Giulia sports sedan, which was revealed in June 2015, will go into production in the first half of 2016, we won’t see the brand’s second mainstream model, a midsize SUV, until 2017 at the earliest.

A full-size sedan, two more utility vehicles, a hatchback and two “specialty vehicles” are also in the pipeline but won’t be launched until sometime between 2017 and 2020.

Do you agree with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plan to move away from cars to SUVs and trucks? Let us know in the comments below.

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo’s Small SUV Will Be Based On Jeep Compass

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Red Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV

The Italian automaker’s next high-riding model will borrow from Jeep.

Alfa Romeo’s SUV lineup will soon grow with the addition of a new compact crossover based on the Jeep Compass, which contradicts earlier reports claiming it would ride on a shrunken version of the rear-wheel drive Giorgio platform that underpins the Giulia sports sedan.

According to , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will dedicate $5.7 billion to produce new models and engines at its factories in Italy.

The new compact Alfa Romeo SUV, which is expected to be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, will sit below the Stelvio (pictured) and compete in the same segment as the Volvo XC40, Audi Q3 and Lexus UX.

FCA didn’t confirm when the new Alfa Romeo SUV will arrive or if it will be sold in the United States and Canada, but an earlier report claimed it will arrive in 2021 at the earliest.

How does the idea of an Alfa Romeo based on a Jeep compass sound? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo May Be Expecting A Baby SUV In Three Years

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Alfa Romeo logo on grille

Because everyone and their mother still wants an SUV more than anything else…

Alfa Romeo is reportedly working on a new baby SUV positioned below the Stelvio in a growing lineup that will also include a larger, seven passenger SUV. The model will compete with other subcompact crossovers like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

According to , the small SUV is expected to arrive in the next three years and will play an important role in the brand’s goal of reaching 400,000 vehicles sales per year by 2022.

It could ride on a shortened version of the Giorgio platform that underpins the Stelvio and Giulia, likely coming standard with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive optionally.

A range of electrified powertrains and even Level 3 autonomous driving technology could also be part of the options list.

In addition to the new SUVs, Alfa Romeo has plans to introduce a GTV coupe and a replacement for the 8C.

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Alfa Romeo

Mike Manley Becomes New Fiat Chrysler CEO, Marchionne Steps Down

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FCA CEO Mike Manley and Marchionne

Health complications has forced Sergio Marchionne to step down from his post as Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO. He has been replaced by Mike Manley effective immediately.

Marchionne had been recovering from shoulder surgery for some months, but a deterioration in his condition has rendered him incapable of running the automaker effectively.

FCA did not elaborate, but having served as FCA CEO since 2004, the former tax account oversaw a controversial tenure that included the acquisition of Chrysler during the 2008 global financial crisis, saving it from bankruptcy; the reintroduction of the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands to North America; spinning off Ferrari; and killing off Chrysler’s passenger cars,

Marchionne was expected to retire at age 66 in 2019. His replacement, Manley was previously the boss of FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands and assumes all powers of the CEO by the board of directors. John Elkann will become chairman at Ferrari, a post Marchionne was expected to hold in until 2021.

Is Fiat Chrysler better off without Sergio Marchionne? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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