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Build more, sell more the key for Fiat Chrysler. Image by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Build more, sell more the key for Fiat Chrysler
Becoming a global brand with clear marque identities the focus for embattled Fiat auto group.
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What's the news?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) five-year plan, thought up by CEO Sergio Marchionne, has been revealed to the world at a meeting in Detroit - and it basically involves building and selling more cars, natch.

However, contrary to prior thoughts that Marchionne's proposals would see Alfa Romeo become a standalone company within FCA, it would appear the brand is staying where it is - for now. Nonetheless, it and the other marques within FCA are having a major overhaul between now and 2019.

There was a lot to digest in the announcements, made by the heads of the respective brands involved and not by Marchionne himself, so to summarise:

• Maserati is going to put the glorious Alfieri concept seen at this year's Geneva show into production as a coupé by 2016, followed by a convertible in 2017. The Trident will also be replacing the Granturismo in 2018 in its future model plans, which include the proposed SUV for next year, likely to be called Levante. The aim is to have Maserati selling 75,000 units globally by 2018 - five times the figure sold in 2013.

• Alfa Romeo will become more upmarket, abandoning the sub-compact sector (where its MiTo model currently resides) to Fiat and focusing on rear-drive/all-wheel drive models with a strong Italian heritage and a 'Made In Italy' promise. Its range will grow from four cars currently to eight new or revised models by 2018. It too will have an SUV (maybe two), a 3 Series-rivalling Giulia plus a bigger saloon and something special like the 4C. Cloverleaf performance models will play a key part, and this is Marchionne's biggest challenge - from selling just 74,000 Alfas last year, 400,000 need to be shifted annually by 2018.

• Fiat will stay as the 'everyman' brand and will also launch a Dacia-esque budget brand in Europe to further improve its affordability. This range will include a model available as a saloon, hatch, estate and even a Duster-rivalling budget SUV. A rear-wheel drive sports car, twinned with the Mazda MX-5, will also wear Fiat badging, given Alfa's Italian-only future now set out in the plan. There will also be a new Punto in 2016, which will hopefully help drive sales from the 1.5 million of 2013 to the targeted 1.9 million in 2018.

• Jeep, like Maserati, has some ambitious sales figures to meet. It needs to sell almost two million units in 2018. Last year, it shifted 732,000; but the sales are going in the right direction and one million are expected to be sold by the end of 2014. The plan is to achieve the ultimate target through two brand new models - a large SUV for 2018 and a C-segment replacement for the Patriot and Compass in 2016. All of the existing range will be refreshed in the coming five-year cycle, including the Cherokee in two years' time; which seems bizarre, as it has only just been launched. The aim here is to revitalise Jeep in its home market, where it has fallen out of favour, yet within five years almost half of its products will be built outside the US to target emerging markets such as those in South America and Asia.

Anything else?

Marchionne wants FCA to be making six million cars a year by 2018, to be sold all over the world. If he can pull all of this off, FCA should be back in the rudest of health within five years. But it's a very big 'if'...

Matt Robinson - 9 May 2014    - Fiat road tests
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