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A warm welcome for Simon Elliott

Simon Elliott’s first action on his confirmation as Chrysler UK managing director, was to call together the 83-strong retail network.

His aim, after spending the previous 22 months as president and CEO of Chrysler in China, was to find out what had changed in the UK and what dealers’ concerns were.

So, on January 18, three days after flying back to the UK, he gave a state of the nation address to the dealer conference.

Reaction was positive. “Simon got a warm welcome from the network,” said Ian Twinley, chairman of John Grose.

Elliott spent almost seven years as managing director at Chrysler UK before moving to China in March 2006.

He was named CEO of the Year at the China Automotive Toplist awards this month after overseeing a 13% rise in sales at Chrysler China. UK MD duties were resumed last October on a temporary basis after the resignation of Peter Lambert.

The Chrysler network had a poor 2007 due to over -supply issues and an over-ambitious launch plan.

“There were too many product launches and not enough marketing budget,” said Twinley. “Chrysler has recognised that it went wrong last year and we are ready to move on.” The company is to look at the model line up and might drop slow sellers.

Dealers were shown new Jeep Cherokee and Grand Voyager for the first time. “Both are very exciting,” added Twinley.

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