Chrysler Jeep dealers told AM there is a massive split between the two brands, with Jeep’s prospects looking more positive for the future.
One dealer said: “Jeep is going places and the new product has a lot of potential. The Grand Cherokee is a contender in its class, even against premium models like the Land Rover Defender.
“The Wrangler continues to attract a niche segment of customers that are looking for that authentic Jeep experience.
“Customers that want a Wrangler won’t be in the market for something else.” There are also big cars, with scope for dealers to create profitable deals if they can attract customers.
Part of Steve Zanlunghi’s plan is to pair Chrysler Jeep
A production version of the Fiat 500L-derived B-segment small Jeep is also likely to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next year. It will help dealers to compete, in what has become quite a crowded market, with models such as the Nissan Juke and Ford Ecosport.
Jeep is essentially being relaunched in the UK with the arrival of the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee and Zanlunghi believes both models will deliver growth for dealers.
The picture is not as clear for Chrysler. The Grand Voyager people-carrier remains the franchise’s key model, although the design is largely unchanged since 2008.
One dealer told AM the Grand Voyager was only available to sell to order, making it a minimum of three months before a customer can get their hands on a car. This means dealers must manage customer expectations with care. Zanlunghi confirmed that Chrysler had secured increased supply of Grand Voyagers for the end of this year to help assist dealers with demand.
Fiat’s Lancia brand has spawned the Delta and Ypsilon, to be rebadged as Chrysler’s small car range in the UK. Chrysler’s UK network is experienced at selling peculiar products, such as the PT Cruiser from 2000, but family hatchback and supermini are extremely tough segments to compete in.
It’s possible to get a basic Ford Focus or Seat Leon for less money than a Delta, which starts at £16,000. The list price of the luxury 300C saloon at £36,000 is also optimistic, with a quick search for 63-plate examples returning prices of between £24,000 and £28,000. PCP deals show potential discounts of up to £8,500. Poor residuals are evidence of the discounting activity, with a 300C Limited retaining just 26% of its value over three years/60,000 miles.
Zanlunghi acknowledged that the 300C had not been marketed correctly in the UK, with its specification meaning it was being targeted against Mercedes-Benz and BMW with a price to match.