Chrysler is gearing up for an assault on the Aussie market
Some models are already shared— including an ugly Lancia-badged Chrysler 300C in Europe— but the next step is total consolidation that reflects the recent move in Australia to put the operations of the American and Italian brands under one roof at a new corporate headquarters in Melbourne.
‘‘ Chrysler is undergoing a renewal under Fiat. There is a whole lot of product in the pipeline and coming through,’’ says spokeswoman Lenore Fletcher.
‘‘ It’s definitely all happening here. We have updates, limitededition cars and all-new models.’’
The SRT versions of the 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee are arriving soon and Fletcher says there will be more Fiat models to stretch the appeal of the baby 500 in Australia.
Further ahead, Australians can expect a wider choice of cars with more personality and, thanks to Fiat’s cash, better quality in the American models.
Fletcher says recent talk about an uncertain future for the Chrysler Town&Country (sold here as the Voyager people-mover) and Jeep Compass— following comments by Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne— might not be relevant for Australia.
‘‘ Those vehicles are just going through their natural product life cycle. We have not heard anything about them being dropped,’’ she says.
There is speculation in the US that Chrysler plans to downsize its people-mover line-up, starting with the Grand Voyager, but at the Detroit show in January it showed a full-size concept reflected only a more SUV-type look.
Dodge is also uncertain, with a global wind-back on the cards, but even that could change in Australia if the macho appeal of the badge can be justified.
Fletcher says all product choices for Australia will be made to boost the appeal and sales of the Fiat Chrysler range.
‘‘ There should be no fears that there won’t be a terrific line-up from Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, and Alfa Romeo and Fiat.
‘‘ Naturally we’ll be looking at whatever products become available and evaluating their suitability for Australia.
‘‘ We are really at the moment looking at the Chrysler and Jeep line-ups. We’re just about to launch the Chrysler 300 and we’re very positive about our volume expectations in the next year.’’
She also denied Fiat and Alfa Romeo flopped in the showroom in May despite this week’s official VFacts figures showing zero sales for them.
‘‘ Due to systemic issues (in) the changeover from local distributor Ateco Automotive to the Fiat Chrysler factory group, no sales were registered for the Fiat or Alfa Romeo brands during May. The relevant figures will be included in next month’s report.’’
Optimism: Fiat has an SRT variant of the Chrysler 300C due in Australia soon