“We are aiming to make the Dodge brand modular and the additional signage will slot in easily with the dealers’ existing corporate signage,” says Simon Elliott, managing director of ChryslerJeep UK. “2005 will be a year where we really start to position the Dodge brand in the UK, ready for the first cars in 2006. We will also soon be talking to our dealers about a three- year business plan for the brand.”
It will be compulsory for ChryslerJeep dealerships to take on the Dodge franchise and consequently there will be inevitable losses from the network. However, the manufacturer is confident that the Dodge brand will help further boost volume and profit. It has predicted sales of 30,000 in the UK by 2007 for all three brands, with more than a third being Dodge models. The dealer network is currently being updated with the new ChryslerJeep corporate look and the Dodge signage has been designed to fit in easily alongside the manufacturers new metallic silver fascia. “The most important thing for us is that our dealers remain profitable. We want to add the third brand without high cost,” adds Elliott. The extreme SRT-10, a UK version of the Viper, will be the first Dodge to be launched and is likely to be followed by a C-sector hatchback which will replace the ageing Chrysler Neon in 2006.
Elliott is also philosophical about the change of Daewoo to Chevrolet – a big rival to Dodge in its US homeland. “Anything that adds a US feel to the market stands us in good stead,” he says.