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The 5-Year Plan for Jeep, Ram and More

Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Maserati face an ambitious future. This is part of a broader 5-year plan for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) laid out by its CEO, Sergio Marchionne, on June 1, 2018.

FCA’s prospects involve a 3-row Grand Cherokee, the revival of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer names, a vehicle subscription service and some electrification in all Jeep vehicles by 2022 — including 10 plug-in hybrids and four all-battery models — plus a new trim level: Desert Hawk. The event showed an image of a Cherokee rushing over dunes, but this idea could follow the Trailhawk formula and be applied to several Jeep models.

Ram is competing with the Ford F-150 Raptor (a 450-horsepower off-roading version of Ford’s pickup). A special suspension and a muscular supercharged 6.2-liter V8 will go into a TRX variant of the Ram 1500. There’s no launch date at this point. Next year, however, will feature a brand-new heavy-duty Ram pickup, a midsize truck and a new generation of the Ram ProMaster City small van.

If anyone remembers the Alfa Romeo 8C — a gorgeous, limited-edition sports car that marked Alfa Romeo’s re-entry into the United States — there’s good news. In the pipeline is a 4-door version with more than 700 hp, including an electric element. A new 600-hp hybrid sports machine using the renowned GTV name is also anticipated, as well as a crossover larger than the midsize Stelvio. No word on when any of these projects might land, other than within the stated 5-year time frame.

Maserati is going more high voltage than high octane. A powerful plug-in hybrid with all-wheel drive is spearheading the Trident marque’s trajectory. It will replace the current GranTurismo in luxury coupe and convertible forms. A plug-in hybrid crossover is also in development, one size down from the large Levante. And the Quattroporte full-size luxury sedan is scheduled for renewal.

The intention is for Maserati to bring out eight hybrid and four fully electric models by 2022. Combustion engines, meanwhile, will be sourced from Ferrari.

There’s an inevitable question behind these announcements, and the answer is that Marchionne has steered FCA to the point where it can afford to invest in developing vehicles. He was first hired to rescue the ailing Fiat company on June 1, 2004, hence the timing of this event. Then he handled the Chrysler merger in 2009. He’s now in his last year before taking retirement. Marchionne also announced plans for FCA to establish a financing division.

With many positive things said, it’s telling what Marchionne didn’t say — regarding Fiat, Chrysler and Dodge in particular. After questioning, he stated those marques will continue, but doesn’t see them accounting for more than 20 percent of FCA’s sales.

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