In a press conference at the 2016 Detroit auto show, the outspoken Fiat Chrysler boss talked about the company’s future product plans now that he’s given up hope of forcing a merger with GM or another major automaker.
Regarding the Dodge Viper, which is likely to be go out of production in 2017, Automobile magazine reports that Marchionne believes that “there is a possibility that a new version of the Viper may surface”.
Unlike previous Vipers, though, any new generation of the all-American supercar will not feature its own dedicated platform or production facility — the small-run Connor Avenue site, where the current Viper is produced, looks as though it will be shut down next year. Indeed, it highly probable that the V10 will also go the way of the dodo.
Part of the reason that there might be a new Viper is because of the “architectural development within the [Dodge] brand”. Rumours indicate that the successor to the Charger will be built on a rear-wheel drive platform derived from the one used by the forthcoming Alfa Romeo Giulia, and its subsequent SUVs and sedan platform mates.
The new Challenger and Charger combo will reportedly be smaller than today’s iterations, and will be joined by an even smaller, convertible-only model that revives the Barracuda name — a nameplate that was formerly paired with the now defunct Plymouth brand.
Marchionne has confirmed the roll out of Alfa Romeo’s new rear-wheel drive vehicle range has been delayed and reshuffled, partly, it’s believed, due to engineering issues, and also because of the slow down in the Chinese economy.
With Ferrari now successfully spun off and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Marchionne hinted that 2015 sales for the sports car maker were up 6 percent worldwide, which would mean that around 7400 new Ferraris found homes in the year just past.
The Fiat Chrysler was peppered with questions about the brand’s new Pacifica people mover, which replaces the Grand Voyager but isn’t coming down under. When asked if the Pacifica’s plug-in hybrid variant will be a loss leader, like its earlier all-electric Fiat 500e, Marchionne replied, “Hell, no!”