Chrysler to stick around but may become mobility brand

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Chrysler Portal concept, 2017 Consumer Electronics Show

Chrysler Portal concept, 2017 Consumer Electronics Show

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles didn’t pull the plug on its Chrysler brand during Friday’s five-year strategy announcement, as had been rumored, but there weren’t any reassurances either. In fact, Chrysler didn’t even get a mention in the strategy.

Chrysler sells just the Pacifica minivan and 300 sedans, and FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated to reporters on Friday that the 300 might not return after its Dodge platform-mates—the Challenger and Charger—are redesigned.

When quizzed about the fate of Chrysler and Dodge, Marchionne replied, “Dodge needs to continue the particular space as a performance brand, and we need to continue to build on that core skill. The minivan business space will be filled by Chrysler, filling the mobility solution in the U.S. market.”

Autocar reported Friday that Chrysler would launch a new model, likely a minivan or crossover SUV.

The moves suggest that Chrysler will be turned into FCA’s mobility brand, much like the Volkswagen Group’s MOIA division and General Motors’ GM Cruise. And further out, we could see Chrysler become FCA’s brand for self-driving cars. FCA revealed Thursday that it is in early talks about licensing self-driving technology from Waymo. The reveal came just as Waymo announced plans to source a further 62,000 Pacifica minivans for its self-driving fleet.

Chrysler gave a preview of a self-driving future with the Portal concept unveiled at the 2017 Detroit auto show. The concept was an electric minivan with seating for six and self-driving capability.

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