Two new Chrysler models are set to signal a long-awaited sales bonanza for the US brand’s beleaguered British dealer network.
But sales staff will need to step up their game to make the most of winning fresh business, claims Jeep Chrysler brand director Nigel Land.
Extensive personalisation opportunities provided by Delta and Ypsilon – the Lancia models being marketed here as groundbreaking Chryslers – open up the prospect of significant upselling revenue.
Land believes that retailing out-of-the-norm options like tri-colour paint, two-tone finishes and matt black roofs could prove a challenge.
“There’s undoubtedly an opportunity here, but the problem is that the great majority of the 47 dealers we have at present don’t have a great amount of experience dealing with B and C-segment customers.
"That certainly applies in cases of single-franchise owner-drivers who are used to selling high-ticket items to customers looking for something unique.
“In the days of the 300C and Grand Voyager, customers knew what they wanted when they went into the dealership.
"Now the market is a lot different and highly competitive,” he said.
Land told AM he was confident of attracting customers with vehicles that were credible alternatives in each sector and competitive retail offers to attract customers on price.
“This has been particularly important with Ypsilon, which has been pitched to undercut the Fiesta.
"We know we’re not proven in this segment, so we have to be price competitive to ensure we’re on the radar and we have worked hard to get the pricing right to give the dealers the economics to ensure they can trade effectively with sufficient margin to return profits.”
Jeep and Chrysler are targeting 29,000 annual sales by 2014. “Volume on the Delta and Ypsilon is no problem should demand rise above the forecast and we have the new D-segment 300C arriving next year, followed by new SUV models from Jeep in the B and D sectors in 2013.
“In addition, a number of other products are set to arrive prior to 2014, so I can assure you that our product plan is based on relevant vehicles,” he added.
He said Chrysler will offer cost-effective motoring with the packaging expected of an American manufacturer in products fully suited to the performance requirements of Europe.
“Chrysler is all about conquest business and the products we’re talking about are a far cry from the past, when we had a strong US product line-up.”