"Today is the first day of a new Chrysler," said Chrysler and Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne. Having unveiled their 5-year product plan today, Chrysler present a new logo to work alongside product refreshes in changing brand associations in the minds of consumers. It streamlines a logo that has been in use since the mid-90s, moving 'Chrysler' lettering from above the wings to at their heart within a new blue block central to the design.
Plagued by sales plunges across its brands, Chrysler Group expects to break even in 2011 following the repayment of some $9 billion in government bailout money and a rise in revenue from $42.5bn in 2010 to $67.5bn in 2014. Hitting these financial targets will require worldwide sales doubling from 1.3 to 2.8 million vehicles.
A brand change is, therefore, all the more important. It reflects an ongoing restructuring that begins with a new 5-year product plan. The health of the firm is already improving ahead of new product development; break even was achieved in September and the last few months have seen more money roll in than out, with Marchionne confident the cash won't deplete as new models are developed off Fiat technology.
In the meantime, a host of 'emergency' facelifts will renew 75% of the line-up by 2010, the remainder being refreshed by 2012. This strategy will align with a range of new platforms from both Chrysler and Fiat arms. The Fiat 500 will enter Chrysler into a new B segment market, while two further platforms set to be inherited from Fiat will allow new C and D segment offerings. New Chrysler platforms will underpin models in SUV, Minivan and CUV segments.