AM Online

Chrysler Jeep to adopt market area approach

Chrysler Jeep, notching a record UK market share this year, wants to boost dealer profitability by adopting a market area concept. The carmaker is working out the level of representation needed to satisfy customers and ensure dealer viability.

Chrysler's UK market share year-to-date is 0.8%, slightly ahead of its 0.7% target, with volumes up 30% on last year. In July, it took a record monthly share of 1%, broken in August by a further 0.1%.

Simon Elliott, Chrysler Jeep UK director, said while at the Birmingham motor show volume growth had been slower than expected under former importer Inchcape.

“Dealers had invested in facilities capable of handling larger capacity,” he said. “We want to give them bigger territories with smaller overheads, for example by having one main dealer with a satellite dealership. The investment will allow dealers to be profitable now, rather than on the promise of future viability.”

Chrysler Jeep has 85 retail partners, with around 103 dealerships. Mr Elliott anticipates the restructure will leave “around 40-50 partners”, though a similar number of outlets.

“The new set-up will depend on the market potential in each area – we will cut our cloth according to the market demands,” said Mr Elliott. “Dealers will be told the position within six to eight weeks.”

PT Cruiser has exceeded expectations, selling 2,500 in the UK this year. Chrysler Jeep will launch the new Cherokee and Voyager in the UK next year.

Much of the growth in sales this year is a result of Chrysler Jeep securing additional right-hand drive models for the UK and the effects of price realignments, particularly on Jeep.

“I'm winning the battle to get more right-hand drive derivatives for the UK,” said Mr Elliott. “The UK has now been accepted as an important market for Chrysler. There is recognition that we can grow volumes by having more RHD cars.”

Chrysler Jeep is also planning to implement a customer satisfaction scheme “for the first time”. Mr Elliott said: “We have to make customers delighted with our service so from January we will have a formal customer satisfaction scheme.”

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