This year around 16,000 Chrysler Group UK sales are expected.
But speaking at this week’s UK press launch for the new Austrian built Chrysler 300C E sector executive saloon, Simon Elliott, the UK managing director said 2006 was the ‘breakthrough year’.
The 300C, additional Chrysler models and the first volume-selling Dodge vehicles will drive sales up to 24,000 units. More new models in 2007 should achieve the 32,000 sales target. Instead of the current nine righthand drive model ranges, including the new 300C, by the end of 2007 the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands between them will consist of 16 righthand drive model line-ups.
Official imports from the US of European specification, lefthand drive, Dodge RAM Pick-Ups with full warranty cover have just been added to the Chrysler Group UK model line-up. The initial batch of 50 vehicles is already accounted for by dealer sales.
The Dodge SRT-10 (Viper as it is known in other countries) remains in the range but only accounts for an average of 12 UK sales a year.
Chrysler Group say 400 units of the 300C Saloon will be available to UK customers this year with around 2,500 units, which will include additional Touring (estate) versions, available in 2006.The engine line-up and prices of the Touring models have yet to be decided but they will go on sale in April or May of next year. The 300C SRT-8, 6.1-litre, V8, 425bhp Saloon and possibly Touring models will be added to the line up at the same time.
Seventy-five per cent of sales are expected to be accounted for by the diesel variant with its Mercedes sourced engine.
The Chrysler Group’s UK dealer network, currently standing at 86 outlets, will grow to 100 dealerships next year. Each dealership will sell all three brands with the new Dodge franchise costing each dealer between £5,000 and £10,000 for corporate signage and to create a Dodge sales area within their existing showrooms.
Elliot said: "With the launch of the new 300C executive range, we have to educate and train our dealers to look after customers efficiently. In future they will be selling to new types of customers they haven’t seen before. These customers are likely to becoming from other executive brands.
"They might well be Mercedes owners who expect to receive a cup of coffee in a crockery cup and saucer not a plastic beaker.
"Our dealers must remain profitable but they have to invest in the future. We know demand for the 300C will outstrip supply. We will not over supply the cars so we will not ruin residual values and dealer profitability."