Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Friday at an investor conference in Italy that the automaker’s namesake division will survive and will add at least one more product to its portfolio.
When asked specifically about the 300, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the four-door sedan doesn’t fit into a market that has turned to 70 percent crossovers, SUVs, and pickups, and 30 percent conventional passenger cars.
Marchionne didn’t confirm the 300’s demise, or set a timeline when that might happen. The executive indicated that the Dodge Charger and Challenger will be updated, likely on their current architecture. The 300, which is a sibling to those vehicles, may not come along for the ride.
While Marchionne reiterated that FCA doesn’t plan to shutter Chrysler, Chrysler received little attention at the event and it certainly won’t receive as much product development as Jeep.
Over the last few years, Chrysler has pared its lineup to just two models: the 300 and the Pacifica minivan. The 300 nameplate was revived under then-parent DaimlerChrysler in 2004 when the sedan’s architecture was derived from a mid-1990s Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The 300 and its Dodge Charger and Challenger platform-mates were refreshed in 2011 but have seen few updates since.
The Chrysler division’s future has been the subject of speculation for years, and rumors of its demise began to circulate ahead of Friday when FCA revealed its five-year plan to investors at its test track in Balocco, Italy.