Chrysler Brand Dropped in U.K., Jeep To Be Future Focus
Brand Shuffle Highlights Importance of Jeep for Global Growth
If there was any doubt as to which brand FCA was pinning most of its future global growth plans, the latest development out of the U.K. should put any doubts to rest. FCA said it will discontinue sales of Chrysler-branded vehicles in the U.K. market by 2017 to focus more resources on the Jeep brand, according to Automotive News. Total 2014 Chrysler-brand sales for the U.K. market were just 1,982 units, compared to 3,909 for the Jeep brand. Sales are projected to almost triple in the U.K. to 10,000 units in 2015, largely on the back of the new Renegade, which is expected to account for more than 7,000 of those sales.
The U.K. and Ireland are the only European markets where the Ypsilon subcompact car is branded as a Chrysler, due to negative local publicity in the mid-’90s that gave the Lancia brand a reputation for being rust prone. The Lancia brand itself will be phased out across most of Europe, with the exception of Italy, where the Ypsilon is still a strong seller.
This move suggests a larger role for both the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands globally, but most significantly, underlines Jeep’s importance as the major driver of FCA’s global growth strategy. Production of the new Cherokee and Renegade are starting in Guangzhou, China, in a former joint-venture Fiat plant northwest of Hong Kong.
Source: Automotive News