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Question mark over Dodge's UK future

The Dodge brand could be dropped from Europe and the UK as Chrysler restructures its ranges.
Chrysler will announce its five-year plan on November 4. Analysts expect a shake-up for Dodge, which could result in it being axed from Europe.

Fiat owns 20% of Chrysler and Sergio Marchionne, who is now chief executive of the Italian-American alliance, is leading its post-Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans.

Dodge has dismissed media reports of the brand ending in the UK as “purely speculative”.

A spokeswoman said: “Dodge is unable to comment on any long-term plans for the brand until the November 4 announcement.”

David Bailey, professor of international business strategy and economics at Coventry University, said: “Dodge could be pulled from European markets or the other option would be for Fiat cars to be badged under the Dodge brand and sold in Europe.

“I believe Chrysler will be more focused on the luxury market and Dodge will have to become much more daring in the models it offers globally.”

Bailey suggested Fiat and Chrysler dealerships could dual franchise in the UK, “especially if the underlying platforms are shared. It could make servicing easier”.

Dodge was added to Chrysler and Jeep showrooms in 2006, but has struggled to meet expectations. Just under 4,000 Dodges were sold in the UK in 2008, less than half the launch forecast. Its 2009 sales year-to-date are 36.2% down.

However, its September UK sales were up 29% to 773 units and Chrysler has recruited seven new dealerships to its network within the last two months.

Fiat is not looking to invest financially in Chrysler and was awarded the 20% stake in return for providing technology to reinvigorate Chrysler’s models.


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