We noted earlier that Chrysler’s turnaround is dependent on Ram and other truck-based models to maintain the steady profit increases projected in its five-year plans. CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed the importance of body-on-frame vehicles to Chrysler’s US lineup in a recent interview with Automotive News [sub]. “I think it will be very stupid for us to assume the same type of European style and sizing which has driven the automobile portfolio of Fiat Group will prevail in the U.S.” Marchionne tells AN’s Luca Ciferri. Marchionne says Chrysler’s US lineup of full-sized pickups, SUVs, large cars and minivans will see their fuel efficiency improve to keep up with pressures on the market, but that the US linup will not suddenly downsize or work away from its traditional strengths. Marchionne even aknowledged that the Ram brand would continue to be a crucial profit center, just as Fiat Professional-branded commercial vehicles drive much of Fiat’s profit in Europe. But as another report in Automotive News [sub] explains, the truck market is continuing to erode underfoot. Chevrolet truck marketing executive John Schwegman explains that in 2005, buyers who chose pickups “primarily for image” accounted for 200,000 to 250,000 annual sales. That fell to about… Read full this story
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