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by Jay Traugott
As Fiat's merger with Chrysler goes to the next level, early reports are indicating that the future of the Dodge brand is uncertain.
As the Fiat gets closer to its goal of completely owning Chrysler, some changes will undoubtedly come in the near future. But make no mistake about it: Fiat has every intention of owning Chrysler and that, on the one hand, will guarantee Chrysler’s survival. However, some sacrifices may have to be made. A newly released report is claiming that the long-term strategy Fiat is planning for Chrysler may not include the Dodge division due to lack of good models now and in the near future.
For starters, there likely won’t be a replacement for the original minivan, the Grand Caravan, simply because the Town & Country has proven to be a stronger seller and its profit margins are greater. Aside from this product merger, the Dodge Avenger will soon be discontinued and the upcoming redesigned Chrysler 200 will be given sole duty in the mid-size sedan segment. The fate of remaining models like Durango, Challenger, Charger, Journey and Dart are still unknown but considering that the Dart and the upcoming redesigned Journey are built on Fiat platforms, it’ll be easy to eventually rebadge them as either Fiats or Chryslers.
The Charger could be replaced outright by the 300 since both are built on the same platform. It’s the same deal for the Durango which shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. That leaves the Challenger. Now, it’s already known that the SRT Barracuda is in development and it will ride on a new rear-drive platform being developed with Alfa Romeo. Considering the Barracuda will be lighter than the Challenger and V8-powered as well, there won’t be a need for the latter any longer. And that, everyone, is how the Dodge brand may no longer be relevant for Fiat by 2016, all of the new models listed above will have debuted.