Fleet News

UK to play vital role in Chrysler's recovery

BRITAIN is to play an increasingly prominent part in the financial recovery of Chrysler, with corporate business playing a key role. Chrysler's European sales - including the UK, which is the manufacturer's second strongest European market after Germany - will rise substantially in the next few years and more right-hand drive models will be launched in Britain.

Next month DaimlerChrysler will unveil a major restructuring of its business which will focus on cost cutting as its seeks to reverse the multi-million pound losses in the USA, which accounts for 92% of Chrysler sales. Meanwhile, Chrysler's European sales totalled a record 108,868 units last year - 4.4% up on 1999 - and they are predicted to reach 126,000 units this year. UK sales, which last year totalled 16,500 units are expected to rise to 19,000 units this year and 21,000 next year.

Chrysler Jeep UK director Simon Elliott has campaigned for more right-hand drive variants from Chrysler since he joined the company a year ago. And Steven Landry, president of Chrysler Jeep Europe, told Fleet NewsNet: 'We want to bring more right-hand drive models into the UK with powertrains which are appropriate. The way technology is today makes it a lot easier to engineer right-hand drive from the start of a model's lifecycle.'

The importance of the UK market is reflected in the high-performance Neon RT, which will go on sale in March, and the UK is the only European market to take it. Elliott said Chrysler was close to completing its fleet sales set-up following the recruitment of 22 corporate dealers.

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