Once a mainstay on American highways, Chrysler is now driving toward an uncertain future. Its partnership with Daimler-Benz has been replaced by one with Fiat, and while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has kept its head above water (thanks to America’s obsession with pickup trucks and the unyielding power of Jeep brand loyalty), the rest of the business raises more than a few questions. What is Fiat’s true future in the U.S. market? Will Alfa Romeo and its Giulia succeed today after a reputation for unreliability sunk them in 1995? And with only a midsize sedan with a questionable future, a full-size stalwart in a shrinking segment, and the 2017 Pacifica in a crossover-crazy era, can Chrysler stay afloat?
There is no better compliment than imitation.
If that’s the case, the automotive industry is full of flattery. That’s as true in the U.S. as it is within the unimaginative shores of China, where car designs are stolen like glances at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Part of the reason for automotive parallels in the Western world is the simple fact that there are only so many car designers to go around. Once a successful design has been penned and millions of cars sold, the designer is lured to another company to create the same look with a different brand.
Who’s the next copycat on deck?
It appears that Mercedes-Benz will get that honor, as it just grabbed the leader of another German automaker’s design studio.