Has Chrysler fallen to far to get back up again?
Yes there was a slim time during their existence when they were the ones to beat. Nowadays they are just that other company. Sure they have great sales and a brand no one on earth can beat (Jeep), but they have one major downfall. That is that they have no brand identity. Ever since Walter P. Chrysler gave birth to his famed company, they never really had a true image. Jumping from design to design and logo to logo. Can you remember a time when the crest was their badge, or even when they originally had wings. All said Chrysler is a company his is always changing. Sure that could be a good thing in the tech world, but not automotive.
To make this point true, lets take a look at the two main competitors to Chrysler (Ford and GM). Both companies are still using the symbols they started with (minus a few updates), and both are known for die hard fans. It's hard to be a fan of Dodge, when the Ram-head logo has been given to Ram trucks and a swipe is not the logo. And to Chrysler, the new wing is cool, but what ever happened to the Pentagon. It made a true point of luxury and could even be made of crystal to give it that added edge over Lincoln and Cadillac.
Now with all that said, Jeep is still using their original badge. Maybe that has something to do with their fan base and stellar sales. Hmmmm, maybe Chrysler and Dodge should follow suit as well. Of course that would mean that they would have to either change or keep their current badges indefinitely. This could be done but will they do it. The answer to that question is NO, and why no, well for that we will have to take a look at their automotive lineup.
Over the years the Chrysler brand and its siblings have had many great cars which have changed the world. But over the course of their life, none other than Jeep have ever had a model last longer than 2 decades, hell most don't even make it past their 10th birthday. Now there are a few which are an exception to this truth (Caravan, Ram pickups, 300), but for the most part this is true. Take a look at Chrysler and Dodge's compact and mid-size lineup. Today it is nearly non-existent and over their life it has always been that small part which has never really stood out. Over the last three decades Dodge has had the Shadow, Spirit, Colt, Neon, Stratus, SX 2.0, Caliber, Avenger and Dart. But over that time-frame Ford has had the Escort, Tempo, Focus, Contour, Fusion. Seems like Ford has had a few less. And take a look at the names. Seems the Fusion and Focus are still around and both of them have made it pass their 10th anniversary. Too bad Dodge can't do that.
Seems that the executives are not getting the picture either, as the Dart and 200 are about to be put to pasture. Too bad as the compact and mid-size market are the best way to get new buyers into your brand. Guess that Fiat is not willing to help either. If Chrysler was really smart they would learn to keep a good thing going, just like Toyota has done with Camry and Corolla. Sure they might not be the most fun in the crowd, but the platform and engines within them are similar to the ones that came on the same cars back in the 80's. When Dodge released the Neon, they should have kept the gravy train running, instead of changing it over to the Caliber. And when they finally got the mid-size right with the new 200, they should have milked that cow and added a Dodge Avenger and new Fiat Linea. Seems Like Ford and GM get the whole expand from within idea. Too bad FCA doesn't.
Ah well, maybe someday FCA will get the picture that they need to use their own platforms and brands to help each other. Until that day, we will just have to keep watching the fall of Chrysler and Dodge.
Original release date: February 2016
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