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New launches as Chrysler extends its sales network

Chrysler plans to increase its sales network to 70 outlets by the end of 2012 on the back of a product offensive that will see three facelifts and four new models.

Facelifts this year of the Patriot, Grand Voyager and Wrangler will be joined by all new Grand Cherokee and Compass, plus rebadged Lancia models, the Ypsilon and Delta.

By 2012 the network is forecast to grow to 90 dealerships and sales of Chrysler models are expected to top 11,500 units and Jeep 4,200.

By 2014 the target is a combined total of in excess of 29,000 units, said Nigel Land, Chrysler UK, Jeep and Dodge brand director. The group total for 2010 is expected to be 4,300.

Land also revealed UK sales of Dodge ended in 2010, but dealers would continue to offer aftersales services.

Chrysler UK currently has 48 sales points and 32 authorised repair centres, giving it a 67% sales market coverage. In 2014 this is expected to be between 90 and 95%.

The network growth, focussing next year in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol, will see Chrysler develop its relationships with existing franchise holders as well as forge new ties.

The network will include brand centres offering all marques, including Fiat and Abarth, perhaps located in a single building.

Land said 60% of the existing network is profitable, with the top quartile making the “top end” of 3% return on sales.

“Historically Chrysler Jeep has been profitable, but because we’ve been through a process of extensive remodelling of the product in the last 18 months, it has meant higher than normal volumes going through certain outlets which has affected profitability,” he said.

“Our dealers now know our plan is to not drive for high volumes  and therefore high discounts because we don’t have the supply.”

At a pre-Christmas press conference, Land also announced a “huge” training plan for the Chrysler network in 2011, encompassing all dealership staff, “from sales teams to technicians”.

He admitted for the last four years network training had been neglected.

Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Fiat Group UK, said the Delta and Ypsilon are part of a “bridging” strategy, designed to re-establish the brand in the UK until new models appear.

He added: “The fact that the company is producing right-hand-drive models for just small numbers in the UK sends a strong signal over the commitment to the market here.”

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