Fleet News

Merger boosts Chrysler's Europe aims

DAIMLERChrysler may soon be building a new Chrysler-badged car range to spearhead a major drive aimed at lifting its sales across all European markets. A fresh line based on the underpinnings of the latest Neon is under consideration and could be in the showrooms in less than three years. Research into the project is already under way and management board approval could be given in the next few months.

The development emerged as officials of the newly-merged company staged a series of management meetings against the backcloth of the North American International Motor Show. 'We feel the development of a new car for Europe is a high priority. When it was independent, Chrysler was selling about 100,000 units per year in the region and most of these were sport utility vehicles and MPVs,' said Jurgen Hubbert, the management board member responsible for passenger cars.

'There is plenty of room for a brand which is able to compete with Ford, Volkswagen and Opel. We have evaluated the Chrysler name and concluded that it has enormous potential outside the US, although the Dodge and Plymouth brands are likely to remain American products. Our new Neon embraces several features which should have appeal to European buyers and the PT Cruiser mini MPV should take Chrysler further in Europe.'

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