Chrysler's IPO Filing Hints at Future Products


  • 2014 Jeep Cherokee Picture

    2014 Jeep Cherokee Picture

    A baby Jeep may be in the works, according to hints dropped in Chrysler's paperwork for an initial public offering. | September 24, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Chrysler Group's extensive paperwork for an initial public offering features a look at its future-product strategy, including a mention of a "first ever" SUV in the small vehicle market or B-segment.
  • "In 2014, we expect to launch our first ever sport utility vehicle, or SUV, in the small vehicle market, or B-segment, which will also be based on a jointly developed platform, which we call the Small Wide platform," Chrysler said in the filing.
  • Industry sources tell Edmunds the small SUV is expected to be a baby Jeep that may be called Scamp.

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Chrysler Group's extensive paperwork for an initial public offering features a look at its future-product strategy, including a mention of a "first ever" SUV in the small vehicle market or B-segment.

"In 2014, we expect to launch our first ever sport utility vehicle, or SUV, in the small vehicle market, or B-segment, which will also be based on a jointly developed platform, which we call the Small Wide platform," Chrysler said in the filing.

Industry sources tell Edmunds the small SUV is expected to be a baby Jeep that may be called Scamp. The baby Jeep is likely to be based on the Fiat 500X platform.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is based on the Compact U.S. Wide or CUSW platform that Chrysler co-developed with Fiat and is based on a Fiat platform.

Chrysler's paperwork provides an interesting look at the company's product strategy and ongoing health. Chrysler said it continues to simplify its products. In 2010, it had 11 different vehicle platforms. By the end of 2014, the number will be cut to nine.

The automaker's dealers are enjoying renewed health, following Chrysler's bankruptcy reorganization.

"As of June 30, 2013, approximately 88 percent of our U.S. dealers reported to us that they were profitable," the filing said. "This represents a substantial increase from 2009 when only 70 percent were profitable."

Chrysler on Monday filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC relating to a proposed initial public offering of common shares. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined, the automaker said.

"Symbolically the Chrysler IPO will have less significance to the American consumer than GM's in which they shed the 'Government Motors' moniker," said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds senior analyst. "The more impactful move will be if and when Fiat and Chrysler truly merge into one company. Strategies and product offerings could begin to change at that point."

The filing also sheds some light on the relationship between Chrysler and parent Fiat. The prospect of an IPO may be prompting Fiat to reconsider the scope of the alliance, the filing noted.

"Fiat has informed us that it is evaluating the various potential impacts that a public offering and the consequential introduction of public stockholders may have on its views of the Fiat-Chrysler Alliance, and as such, is considering whether or not to continue expanding the Fiat-Chrysler Alliance beyond its existing contractual commitments in accordance with historical practice and as envisioned by the Company's 2010-2014 Business Plan," the filing said. "If Fiat becomes unwilling to work with us beyond the scope of its existing contractual obligations, there may be a material adverse effect on our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations."

Industry experts say the filing is raising concerns about whether Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne can achieve his goal of merging the two companies.

Edmunds says: A key takeaway of Chrysler's IPO filing is that its vehicle downsizing movement continues to march forward.

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