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New Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Spells Few Changes for Consumers

Chrysler is a storied American automotive brand. Chrysler Group LLC is the corporate entity that owns the Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, FIAT, SRT, Mopar and Jeep brands. Earlier this month, Italian automaker FIAT gained sole ownership of Chrysler Group. Now Chrysler is undergoing more changes.

(Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Forbes reports, “On Wednesday, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA for short. The new company will be initially be based in London, not Milan, Italy, the long-time home of Fiat, or Auburn Hills, Mich., where Chrysler has been headquartered the past quarter century, although there have been some hints that FCA might end up in the United States.” 

USA Today says there’s good reason that the company will likely not move out of the United States permanently, writing, “… there'd be a fierce backlash in the U.S. if a company rescued by American taxpayers' money were to move out of the country.”

The new company and name change may mean a lot to analysts and investors, but Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and FIAT owners may just shrug at the change. When FIAT completed its purchase of Chrysler in early January, Cars.com wrote, “Does the merger mean U.S. shoppers will see a flood of Fiats in the near term? Not necessarily. In fact, it could be the other way around. Fiat badly needs Chrysler; without profits from the Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker, Fiat would have lost $1.35 billion in 2012 with exchange rates at the time.” 

However, the Detroit Free Press notes, “… so far, Fiat’s troubles do not appear to have directly affected Chrysler operations as Marchionne has invested billions in U.S. plants located in metro Detroit, Toledo, Illinois and Indiana. In the U.S., Chrysler’s employment has rebounded from 21,000 in 2009 to nearly 34,000 as of Dec. 31.”

For the time being, the switch to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles seems to be more about shoring up the company’s image and finances, not shaking up its product line. Still, The Wall Street Journal writes, “Fiat Chrysler is in danger of being an also ran unless it starts to spend wisely but inevitably heavily on an upgrade and expansion of its model range for its main markets.” Those markets, for the most part, are in Europe and South America, meaning changes to the company’s U.S. products aren’t urgent.

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