Jeep and Chrysler plot re-emergence under Fiat
17 January 2011
American brands Chrysler and Jeep are planning for a combined return to significance in the UK market under the stewardship of Fiat.
Four new models and three facelifts will make up the 2011 Chrysler and Jeep UK line-up, with the unsuccessful Dodge brand disappearing from the UK market. "The UK market is not aligned to the core market values of Dodge and it is better not to dilute the brand," explained Chrysler and Jeep UK brand director Nigel Land.
The new two-brand line-up, which Fiat holds a 20% stake in, is set for significant improvements, with Land admitting the current models aren't good enough for Europe. "In the recent past our products have not lived up to quality, efficiency, and fit and finish of European standards," he said.
Regarding the Jeep brand, Land said it needs to appeal more to the current market priorities: "While extremely capable it has to be relevant for our generation. It's our intention to contemporise the Jeep brand with products that reflect our market requirements, vehicles that represent the best of the Jeep DNA but are also relevant to our market in the UK."
Chrysler will be refreshed by a pair of new models in the supermini and lower medium segments in the form of the restyled Lancia Ypsilon and Delta models already sold in mainland Europe. "We have a huge opportunity in the B [supermini] and C [lower medium] segments with people that have never before considered the Chrysler brand," said Land, though he said keeping modest volumes of less than 2000 for each vehicle in 2011 is deliberate in order to not force the market.
"We have to be mindful of where we are and have to get RVs to the level where we can offer competitive finance packages," he said. "We have to ensure what we don't do is distress the brand - we can't do 15,000 vehicles and all of them rented."
Land admitted that corporate sales won't initially be the most important part of the firm's business. "We will have our own very small fleet team and in the last couple of years fleet it has not played an important part, but as we get more relevant products we will look to develop it."
|Facelifted Jeep Patriot||January|
|Facelifted Jeep Wrangler||March|
|New Jeep Compass||May|
|New Jeep Grand Cherokee||May|
|Facelifted Chrysler G. Voyager||May |
|New Chrysler Delta||June|
|New Chrysler Ypsilon||Late 2011|
Follow BusinessCar on TWITTER