The Lemon

As we know (now), announcements made by Fiat-Chrysler in June laid out an ambitious five-year plan designed to reposition the automaker as a global leader. The strategy, which aspires to make FCA the most profitable of Detroit-based automakers might be better described as ‘audacious’ (rather than ‘ambitious’) but it’s a far cry from the news that we thought was coming.

While the Fiat-Chrysler name shelters a diverse selection of individual brands, it was widely believed that FCA would (i) pull production facilities from the US and China, (ii) refocus their efforts on the ever-profitable Jeep division and (iii) retire the aging Chrysler brand once and for all. Drastic moves predicted by CEO Sergio Marchionne, with plans of retiring in 2019 after 14 years of successful leadership.

But retire Chrysler? Although the brand had decreased in terms of relevance in recent years, an FCA insider had contacted THE LEMON with some interesting information. These details could have possibly been the match that sparked the unfounded rumors of Chrysler’s demise.

“Chrysler has been in desperate need of a ‘win’ for a long time,” explained the anonymous source. “Our intention was to create some genuine excitement and revitalize the brand by offering up something powerful, something raw and even…primal. And what is more primal, and ripe with raw power, than a volcano?“

Touted as a new entry into the performance vehicle segment, the Chrysler Volcano was allegedly conceived to extend the ballsy pedigree enjoyed by its FCA stablemates the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Spec’d to deliver over 700 horsepower, the 2019 Volcano may have carried all of Chrysler’s hopes and dreams upon its shoulders.

Until, of course, actual volcanoes started happening.

“Take Kilaeua, for example,” explained our source. “Which statistic do you think that people are going to focus on when they hear the word volcano: 700 horsepower or 700 homes destroyed by rampant lava flow? No-one at Chrysler is a dummy, we knew some journalist or blogger would snatch up those statistics in a second and crucify us.”

A solid point made, adding, “Even if we decided to roll with the punches after Kilaeua…LOOK OUT…here comes Guatemala.”

With the eruption of the Fuego volcano (outside Guatemala City) over 100 casualties have been reported, credited to immense amounts of volcanic ash and gas generated by pyroclastic flows. With lava flows exceeding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit capable of traveling 100 miles an hour or more, it feels like a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, we’d be taking advantage of a tragedy and natural disaster. On the other hand, talk about cross-marketing at its finest!”

This was the attitude which allegedly led to the dismissal of our source, from employment by Fiat-Chrysler. While Chrysler’s demise was widely predicted, it appears that a more positive outlook came once the automaker was no longer employing an individual who saw such opportunity in the death of South American natives.

That said, do not expect to see the Chrysler Volcano, or any indication that it ever truly existed as a concept, any time soon.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here