05.11.2009 CHRYSLER GROUP 2010 - 2014 BUSINESS PLAN: DODGE

RESTYLED DODGE NITRO: CHRYSLER GROUP FIVE YEAR PLAN PRESENTATION, NOVEMBER 2009

The Dodge Nitro, one of the least successful models in the brand's range, will get cosmetic enhancements next year to keep it going until mid-2011, but no decision has been made on its replacement.

DODGE: CHRYSLER GROUP FIVE YEAR PLAN PRESENTATION, NOVEMBER 2009

RESTYLED DODGE CHARGER: CHRYSLER GROUP FIVE YEAR PLAN PRESENTATION, NOVEMBER 2009

The presentational slides for the Dodge 2010 - 2014 plan curiously include a close-up image of the 1999 Charger concept car.

DODGE: CHRYSLER GROUP FIVE YEAR PLAN PRESENTATION, NOVEMBER 2009

Overhauling the Dodge line-up will kick off with the Caliber which by the end of the year will get an all-new interior, new colours, new wheels and be repackaged and repositioned. That will carry it through to the middle of 2012 when it will be replaced by a new model on a Fiat platform.

Under Fiat's control Dodge's car unit has already been split away from its truck division leaving a small rump that will now be focused in the short term on more sporty, driver orientated cars. "All Dodge vehicles will represent lifestyles, not age groups or price classes" said the presentation yesterday in Michigan which added that it will create cars "with personality and presence".

Dodge brand President Ralph Gilles emphasised that Dodge would become less 'badboy' and more 'fun'. He outlined six specific lifestyle target areas where Dodge could target its vehicles including "sweet and simple," with cars that would be targeted at entry=-level audiences and major on economy, "fun and practical," more generally cars that would focus on driving pleasure and practicality, and more niche cars that could be described as "cool and extrovert," such as the current Challenger sports car.

There will be a "complete repackaging, new options mix, fully implemented by the end of Q4 2009" followed at the same time by a "complete overhaul of branding, marketing, positioning and point of sale," which will be completed by the end of the second quarter of next year. The key points to address will be to: "fix the fundamentals, customer focused quality, retune our driving experience, and technology which will enable efficiency and performance."

Overhauling the existing Dodge line-up will kick off with the Caliber which by the end of this year will get an all-new interior (already shown at the Frankfurt IAA in September), new colours and new wheels with the car repackaged and repositioned. That will carry it through to the middle of 2012 when it will be replaced by a new model on a Fiat platform.

Next year will be particularly hectic for Dodge's engineers as three further key models will get major makeovers with launches set for before the end of Q4 2010, the Avenger and Journey will receive a new interior, new engines, refreshed exteriors, repackaging, improved NVH, comfort, convenience, performance and fuel economy," while the Caravan is set to also get a new interior and external facelift, a new engine and "complete suspension retune" to offer "best-in-class ride and handling, NVH, comfort, features, performance and fuel economy." The unloved Avenger will eventually be replaced by an all-new model in the middle of 2013 while the Journey's makeover should keep it fresh until the end of the five year-plan.

The Charger had been in the pipeline for a makeover under its former owners with the project almost completed before Fiat took control, and this new version will be "all new, dramatically styled, class leading, interior, class leading features, lifestyle oriented, packaging, new engine, best in class performance, and fuel economy," according to the presentation. The Nitro will get new cosmetic enhancements next year to keep it going until mid-2011 but no decision has been made on its replacement. The muscular Viper sports car will see a final production run of 500 units with Dodge promising that a replacement will be considered, in the plan if a new model goes ahead, it is slated to arrive in mid 2012.

A new addition to the range next year will be a severn seater CUV with "all new design, class leading interior, multiple engine choices, character and performance consistent with the new Dodge." This model was initiated by former owners Daimler and it will be relatively unchanged, with Fiat will tweaking the final product. It is expected to be based on the Durango. There will be a new Caravan in 2014 (alongside its platform sister, Chrysler's Town & Country) with this model, like the Chrysler set to get a quick refresh late next year.

Between 2012 and 2013 new Fiat technology-based models will arrive in the shape of an all-new B, C and D-segment sedan to patch up the uneven range. First out of the box will be a new replacement for the Caliber in 2012 while a "subcompact" will hit the showrooms a year later.
 

2009 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed