Elliott, who left Chrysler UK two years ago for a role in China, says he believes he left the franchise in “a fantastically strong position”. He returns to a business whose annual sales slumped 21% for Chrysler and almost 9% for Jeep last year, despite a raft of new models.
Asked what went wrong, Elliott answers in a typically forthright manner: “We launched too many products too quickly.
“My operating plan didn’t have all those products, such as Compass, Patriot, Avenger and Sebring. There was an opportunity to say no, or say that if we take all these models we need to have the resource.”
As a result, instead of selling 32,000 cars, the business did 18,000.
Elliott adds: “Dealer profits were compromised, volume targets were overstretched and stock levels were too high. Dealer profits are now the number one challenge.”
He plans to drop certain models from the Chrysler Jeep Dodge range, possibly as many as four or five. They are thought to include the retro PT Cruiser and the Sebring.
“We have to stop clogging up dealers – we have to allow them to flourish,” Elliott says.