A Legendary American Car Brand Could Be Axed Soon

FCA and Groupe PSA are merging to form the world's fourth-largest automaker—and the casualties could be historically significant.

2020 chrysler 300 with red s appearance
FCA US LLC

It's official: FCA and Groupe PSA are merging to form the world's fourth-largest automaker. The mashup company will go by a new name, "Stellantis" — which sounds either fittingly pan-European or like a cholesterol medication you should talk with your doctor about.

It's assured there will be plenty of major shakeups, such as brand and model consolidation, with this move. And according to reports, at least one storied American car brand — Chrysler — could be on the chopping block as a result of the merger.

Jeep — recently assessed to be more valuable than FCA as a whole — and Ram are super-profitable and safe. But things could get dicey for Chrysler, which has been reduced to almost nothing more than a name on FCA's stationery. The Chrysler model lineup now consists of the ancient 300 sedan — last overhauled for 2011 — and the recently-refreshed Pacifica minivan, with no new Chrysler vehicles apparently en route. In other words: the Chrysler marque seems like a strong candidate for streamlining.

On the other hand...it could make sense for Stellantis to reinvigorate the Chrysler brand, not retire it. A major component of this merger from the FCA side is getting access to Groupe PSA's fuel-efficiency and electrification technologies, in order to better compete with Ford and General Motors.

That will mean new platforms and vehicles should be incoming — ones that won't jibe naturally with SUV-only Jeep and truck-and-van-only Ram. Given how poorly bringing Fiats back to America turned out, rebodying and rebadging European cars as Chryslers could be preferable to bringing Peugeot or Citroën directly to North America.

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