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FCA Will Merge With PSA - Which Cars Should They Keep Making?

We are on the verge of a merger, one that could spawn the world’s fourth-largest automaker by global sales. France’s PSA has agreed to join forces with Fiat-Chrysler, after the initial plan to merge with Renault fell through.
Maserati Ghibli 16 photos
Photo: Maserati
Alfa Romeo GiuliaAlfa Romeo Giulia & Stelvio QVChrysler 300CChrysler VoyagerDodge Challenger HellcatDodge Charger Scat PackDodge Durango SRTFiat 500Fiat 500LFiat 500XJeep RenegadeJeep WranglerLancia YpsilonMaserati GhibliMaserati Quattroporte
The new company will be run by an evenly split board, but its CEO will be PSA’s CEO, Carlos Tavares. PSA has already announced it has no immediate plans to close any factories, axe any models or fire any FCA employees, but we know this won’t be the case, at least as far as models go. This is why we tried to see which FCA models we’d like kept and which they can relegate to the pages of history without a tear being shed.

FCA’s combined Fiat and Chrysler model lineup is a mixed bag, in terms of sales and profitability - some are world-wide phenomenons, others do very well in local markets, while when it comes to others, you’d not even know it if they ceased sales tomorrow. We’re not going to cover all models here, just the ones that are really good and should be kept and the ones that are really bad and should be axed.

We’ll start with the ones that should be kept in production and the first car that comes to mind is the Fiat 500, one of the most successful small cars in the world. It definitely enters the world-wide phenomenon category, selling around 200,000 units per annum in Europe alone.

It’s so good that Fiat has hardly had to change the formula in the decade this unashamedly retro-inspired city car has been on sale. You can even have it as an Abarth, if you want hot hatch performance, and then the tame little runabout turns into the automotive equivalent of a horny bulldog on three legs, lifting its inside rear wheel under hard cornering.

Fiat 500L
Photo: FCA
Fiat also sells other models in the 500 range, yet they’re not mechanically related to the actual 500. These are the 500X (similar underneath to the Jeep Renegade), as well as the 500L and 500XL, and if Fiat axes all of them tomorrow, we’re pretty sure nobody will miss them. The 500X is okay, although not as interesting as the mechanically similar Renegade, and the 500L, a bloated looking thing that only sells well in Italy.

If I was the CEO of this new PSA-FCA company, I’d personally axe the 500L with an actual axe. Besides, PSA already has its own range of 5- and 7-seater people movers (although it’s given them a crossover twist) and we’re sure they don’t want the competition.

Another Fiat that should definitely be kept is the Fiat 124 Spider, the Mazda MX-5’s turbocharged brother. It may be quite derivative, since it’s essentially the MX-5 underneath, but with the turbo engine, retuned suspension and different styling, it does feel sufficiently different to justify its existence. Plus, the world can’t get enough fun, light two-seater drop-tops, and the 124 is one of them.

Fiat also needs to keep the Panda. Mechanically related to the 500, it is not as concerned with style as its bubbly two-door cousin, and it’s considered a genuinely good, small and practical car. It’s definitely a cool car that you can even get with all-wheel drive, a raised ride height and plastic body cladding in the Panda Cross model. It’s a pygmy mountain goat and it should definitely not be axed.

The Fiat Tipo, available as a hatch, sedan and wagon, is a decent low cost car, but it really doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s just OK, not great at anything in particular, and it’s the kind of car that if axed, it would be years before you notice it's gone (if ever). The same can be said of the Toro (Brazil) and Fullback pickups, which aren’t especially popular anyway.

Chrysler 300C
Photo: FCA
Moving into the Chrysler stable, it only currently sells two models: the Pacifica/Voyager people carrier and the car that you can’t not look at, the 300 sedan. By all accounts, the Pacifica is a great way to move your family around - it’s close to the top of its class in pretty much all measurable areas (which is why it’s very popular in the States).

The 300 is a lot of car for the money. And it’s really imposing, but at the same time it looks like a car designed in the early 2000s, then restyled in an attempt to be kept fresh. It probably won’t be missed too much, although it does have fans that would state otherwise.

Dodge currently sells the Charger, Challenger, Durango, Journey and the Grand Caravan. The last two cars on this list look rather old and bloated and if they’re not replaced with something far smoother and more modern, then they ought to see the sharp end of an axe swing. The same can be said of the Durango SUV, even though it can be had as a hot SRT model with 475 horsepower, making it one heck of a quick three-row SUV - it can stay.

The other two Dodge models are definitely more unique, especially since both can be ordered as Hellcat models, with a 707 horsepower supercharged nuclear warhead under the hood. The Challenger is a bit long in the tooth now, but it’s now the closest thing to a modern interpretation of a classic American muscle car. Its rivals, the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro, have moved more towards the realm of actual sports cars, leaving the Challenger as the only real proper modern muscle car.

The Charger is also pretty cool, and not only as the Hellcat model (with its 200+ mph top speed), but it’s nowhere near as cool as the Challenger. Still, we’re not sure if it’s cool and worthy enough not to be axed.

Dodge Challenger Hellcat
Photo: FCA
Jeep has to be Fiat-Chrysler’s most valuable brand. The word Jeep is used around the world to describe any off-road type vehicle - it has unmatched brand awareness, even if many people (who aren’t into cars) may not know it’s an actual brand. And Jeep currently sells several interesting and worthy models, a list topped by the Wrangler.

The Wrangler is a global phenomenon and the latest is the best one yet, since it retains the familiar rock crawling ability and blends it with a much better on-road driving experience. Plus, it retains the iconic styling and only subtly updates it to keep it looking fresh - the Wrangler (which is also available as a pickup called the Gladiator) should definitely not be axed.

The Grand Cherokee nameplate has a lot of weight to it, but the latest model feels old and behind the times. It doesn’t need to be axed, but instead it needs an all-new version with more modern underpinnings and a much improved interior.

The Compass slots under the Cherokee in the Jeep’s lineup, but I honestly don’t see enough differentiation between the two models, especially now that the larger SUV has been given a more conventional, toned down face.

These two Jeeps should definitely both be discontinued and merged into a single model, because they’re just too similar. Finally, the Renegade can stay, especially if the 500X is axed, as it’s one of the most capable mini-SUVs and it looks quite quirky too.

Lancia Ypsilon
Photo: FCA
Maserati should definitely keep making the Ghibli and the Quattroporte, as they're both very interesting sporty sedans, but they are still far from what they could be (and somewhat behind what the competition is doing). Maybe they can look over the fence at Alfa Romeo whose Giulia and Stelvio models are actually great, world-class vehicles and they too should stay in production without a doubt.

Oh, and I almost forgot Lancia, also part of the FCA group. Only the strange looking Ypsilon is currently sold under the Lancia brand, but it really should have been killed off already. It's a disgrace to the Lancia name, a name linked to many great and beautiful cars (all of which were made many decades ago). Maybe with PSA's help, they will be able to make more of it - the Lancia badge has a lot of currently unexploited potential.
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