This instalment, one of a two-part analysis, examines six Stellantis passenger vehicle brands.
Although the 500e was revealed six months ago, production of this small EV commenced just a few days ago at the historic Mirafiori factory in Turin. As well as a more powerful and torquier motor plus certain styling differences compared to the Fiat original, there is an optional ‘Sound Generator’. This is meant to mimic a petrol engine.
The battery pack has a capacity of 42 kWh while the motor produces 113.7 kW and 235 Nm. A 0-100 km/h time of 7.0 seconds is claimed. The maximum range is only 250 km compared to the Fiat New 500’s 320. There are three driving modes:
- Turismo – smoother acceleration and lower motor outputs (100 kW and 220 Nm)
- Scorpion Street – “offers top performance while maximizing the regenerative braking”
- Scorpion Track – “is designed for those who are looking for top performance”
The first 1,949 examples are part of a high-priced ‘Scorpionissima’ launch edition. That number is the year of Abarth’s creation. The 500e and 500e Turismo are the regular production variants.
After European markets, the little Abarth next becomes available in Japan, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand and Australia.
This model will eventually replace the (older, petrol-powered) 595 and 695 but probably not until 2024. That’s likely also when faster and louder derivatives of the Abarth 500e will begin to be added to the line-up. The successor model is due in 2027 but Stellantis may keep this one going as a cheaper alternative to the second generation EV. That car will have an electric-specific platform and a battery with greater capacity.
Abarth’s only other model isn’t due for a successor until 2029, after a facelift in 2025. In fact, the Pulse Abarth is more of a model grade than a vehicle in its own right: introduced in 2021, the Pulse is a 4.1 m long SUV built in and for Brazil. It debuted Stellantis’ MLA, a special architecture for certain lower-cost markets.
Even though the Tonale is selling in decent volume, dealers want more models. That wish should be granted in a year’s time, which is when a delayed small SUV is due to arrive.
To be aimed at the Audi Q2, the ‘Brennero’ or ‘Castillo’ should be manufactured in Poland on the same line as equivalent vehicles for Fiat and Jeep. A possible Lancia may arrive later in the decade.
Being based on STLA Small (formerly Dongfeng Motor and Groupe PSA’s CMP/e-CMP architectures) means there can also be an electric version. Both EV and IC variants are due in mid-2024. The project code is 966.
The first electric-only model is set for launch in 2025, the marque’s Jean-Phillipe Imparato has stated. This might be the Giulia’s successor.
“Our strategy is to have either a new model launch or a significant product event each year until 2030. That gives us the best balance of efficiency and cash inflow. Alfa needs stability. We can’t change strategy to follow every new trend. We’ll launch [an SUV below the Tonale] in 2024. It will be Alfa’s first full-electric vehicle, but it will also offer versions with combustion engines. We’ll launch our first electric-only vehicle in 2025. Starting that year all new models will be 100 per cent electric, worldwide,” said the chief executive officer.
Interviewed in February, Alfa’s CEO claimed that the replacement for today’s Giulia would have a maximum range of up to 700 km (435 miles). It will also feature an 800V electrical architecture. Then one month later, Stellantis stated that its Cassino plant in Italy would produce STLA Large architecture Maserati and Alfa Romeo vehicles. Neither the models in question nor their launch timings were announced.
The then FCA Canada, and Unifor, the union which represents workers at the Windsor and Brampton plants in Ontario along with other relevant facilities, agreed a new, three-year contract in October 2020. This included spending of CA$1.58bn on new models and upgrades. The Chrysler 300, which dates to 2010, will remain in production until the end of this agreement.
Stellantis told the media in July 2021 that its STLA Large architecture would be for unibody vehicles of between 4.7 and 5.4 m in length, with widths of 1.9-2.3 metres.
It still isn’t known if there will be a new 300 though. Christine (Chris) Feuell, the CEO of Chrysler, stated at CES in January 2022 that the brand would be going EV-only but this isn’t due to happen until 2028. What that means for any potential 300 replacement model is therefore unclear. It’s possible that a high-priced electric sedan could be launched as a sort of successor later in the 2020s.
A May 2022 media statement noted this regarding each of the group’s Canadian factories:
“The Windsor Assembly Plant will be transformed to support production of a new multi-energy vehicle (MEV) architecture that will provide battery-electric (BEV) capability for multiple models. The plant will have maximum flexibility to adjust production volumes as needed to meet changing market demand over the next decade. Retooling is expected to begin in 2023. The Brampton Assembly Plant will be retooled and fully modernized, beginning in 2024. When production resumes in 2025, the plant will introduce STLA Large, a flexible [presumed to mean IC/PHEV/EV] rear- and all-wheel drive architecture.
It isn’t known exactly when build of the three L-series cars (Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger) will end but in June 2022 Stellantis US noted that it would be “when retooling begins in 2024”.
The Stellantis brand revealed a final edition of the 300 at the Detroit auto show in September 2022. This is the ’23 model year 300C, of which 2,000 units are being built for the USA and 200 for Canada. The big sedan was given a 485 hp and 475 lb-ft version of Chrysler’s 6.4-litre Hemi-branded naturally aspirated V8. There are three colours: Gloss Black, Velvet Red and Bright White.
Chrysler’s only other model is the Pacifica, as well as its PHEV derivative. These have been made at Windsor since 2016 and should therefore theoretically be replaced this year or next.
It’s entirely possible that an electric successor could appear in 2025 after WAP re-opens. This would however be a bold move considering how successful the IC-powered one continues to be. A plug-in hybrid powertrain might be a more logical outcome, with electric-only drive an option.
The only confirmed future Chrysler as of right now is an electric SUV. But it won’t be the crossover which Stellantis had gone close to stating would appear: a production car based on the Vision Airflow, a concept first seen in 2020.
Earlier this week, Ralph Gilles, Stellantis’ head of Design, stated that the Airflow project had been cancelled. There will instead be a different Chrysler electric vehicle, to be previewed by a fresh concept in 2024.
It isn’t known where and when a production version of the next concept will be made but Ontario and 2025 or 2026 seems a fair bet. The concept is therefore likely needed to demonstrate that Chrysler has a future: due to retooling at MAP and WAP, the brand might not have any vehicles in production during 2024.
Other than the highly competitive environment in Europe where most of the brand’s vehicles are sold, there appears to be no particular reason why Citroën continues to struggle. It EU-EFTA-UK market share fell yet again in April from a fairly average 3.6 per cent one year earlier to only 2.9 per cent. Year to date, even Fiat is ahead (133,512 versus 130,672).
What tends to solve any brand’s volume problem is the addition of fresh products. And to be fair to Citroën, it has lost the C1, formerly a big seller. A replacement could in theory arrive as soon as 2024, based upon the platform introduced in 2020 by the third generation Fiat 500.
Whilst the baby Fiat is electric-only, its architecture is believed to be compatible with internal combustion engines. Whether or not Stellantis has decided to offer a new C1 and its Peugeot 108 twin with EV, PHEV, ICE-only and/or mild hybrid power is not yet known.
Speculation suggests that the Peugeot and Citroën could be manufactured on the same line as the electric Fiat. The second generation models were built at a former Toyota-Groupe PSA JV plant in the Czech Republic but Toyota took control of the Kolin factory in 2021, C1 production ending exactly a year later.
Under a different scenario, a new family of small cars could be the vehicles which Stellantis told the media it would manufacture at its Kenitra plant in Morocco. No year was noted in the 9 November 2022 press release. The company stated that the plant would have its annual production capacity expanded to 400,000 vehicles, each of which would be based on a fresh platform called ‘Smart Car’. Further details are awaited.
There are a couple of models called C3 but the European one is due to be replaced towards the end of 2023. The platform will be switched to STLA Small which means that for the first time, there can be an electric version. This should be called ë-C3. Its propulsion system would be shared with the Peugeot e-208 and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa-e.
We’re now just a few months away from the start of production for a special model called C3 Aircross. This will not be the same as the one sold in Europe but specific to India, other parts of Asia, and South America. A 4.32 m long crossover, the C3 Aircross was revealed at a special event in New Delhi a few weeks ago.
Similar to that country’s locally built C3 in some ways, the Aircross has a lot more overhang at the rear. The same old-tech, low-cost platform as India and Brazil’s C3 hatchback is also used. With production taking place in both those countries (Porto Real and Chennai/Thiruvallur plants), the C3 Aircross is yet another part of Stellantis’ plan to have 30 per cent of Citroën vehicles sold outside Europe by 2025.
The Indian, Brazilian and Argentinean market sales launches will take place in late 2023 with Indonesia to be added during 2024. In the latter country, Indomobil Group is the brand’s distributor.
What of the C3 Aircross which has been available in European countries since the fourth quarter of 2016? Its successor should be launched next year, with an ë-C3 Aircross (an EV) also expected.
India will also have yet another special model (code: CC22) but not until 2024. Likely to be called C3X, the crossover will be based on the same architecture as the C3 and C3 Aircross. Production will be at the same plant: Birla Group’s Thiruvallur facory in Chennai.
The Hornet is Dodge’s newest model. Aside from the front and rear ends, this SUV is all but identical to the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Production is in the same plant too although it didn’t commence until February, many months after Tonale build had started.
As well as the standard 265 hp and 295 lb ft turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine for the Hornet GT, there is also a plug-in hybrid. This, the Hornet R/T, will have outputs of 285+ hp (yet to be confirmed) and 383 pound-feet of torque. Dodge calls a boost feature ‘PowerShot’. This allows an extra 25 horsepower to assist acceleration although the driver must wait fifteen seconds between each activation. The rear axle motor produces 90 kW and the battery has a capacity of 15.5 kWh.
We should expect a six-year manufacturing run which means a facelift in CY2026.
The first electric Dodge is due in a year’s time and will be based upon STLA Large. There may however also be a combustion-only six-cylinder engine but Stellantis is yet to either confirm or deny these rumours.
Speaking in March 2022, Stellantis’ CEO Carlos Tavares stated that future electric Dodge muscle cars would have a unique sound and that it could be loud too. The cars should also see a new interpretation of the Dodge ‘fratzog’ logo from the 1960s and 1970s. An illuminated version of this symbol featured on the Charger Daytona SRT concept.
Both coupe (Charger) and sedan (Challenger) models should be launched commencing in 2024.
As for a larger SUV, the Stealth is expected to arrive in 2024. It would replace the by then 13+ years old Durango. Dealers were shown a concept at a special future vehicles presentation in March. It is presumed that the Stealth will use the same architecture and be built on the same line at JNAP as the Jeep Grand Cherokee L.
An electric Stealth isn’t expected at first but could certainly follow during the second half of the ’20s. Before then, there could be a four-cylinder plug-in hybrid option as per the one available in the Jeep.
After the disappointing sales performance of its China-specific models, DS seems now to be concentrating on Europe, where the 3, 4 and 7 are selling relatively well. The 9 is also available.
Next to come is a vehicle with the D85 project code. This crossover will be manufactured in Italy at the SATA (Melfi) plant on the same line as the Opel and Vauxhall OV85. That vehicle could turn out to be a successor for the Insignia. D85 should supplement D84, the successor for the 7. D85 could be called DS 8.
Any new DS model launched during or after 2024 will be an EV. The division has also revealed certain details of specific future electric vehicles:
“From 2024, DS Automobiles will strengthen its offering by selling a 100% electric version of DS 4, then it will unveil a new design, launching the first 100% electric project from Stellantis based on the STLA MEDIUM platform. Fitted with a high-capacity battery with up to 104 kWh for a range of 700 kilometres, this future model will offer remarkable technology and refinement with technical features that are a perfect fit for DS Automobiles customers”.
D74, likely to be the next 7 mentioned above, will have a Lancia counterpart too (L74). The DS comes first, towards the end of 2025. What isn’t yet known is what happens to the brand’s currently odd badging system: the E-Tense suffix is used for both PHEVs (4, 7 and 9) and EVs (3).
Stellantis might simplify things for the second generation of DS’ presently largest SUV, dropping E-Tense and calling this EV-only crossover simply DS 7.
Instalment two of the Stellantis future models report will cover certain new and next Fiat, Jeep & Wagoneer, Lancia, Maserati, Opel & Vauxhall, Peugeot and Ram models. It will be published on 24 May.