Chrysler’s fleet strategy will rely on low volumes that will help to shore up residual values and improve the reputation of the reinvigorated brand, according to its UK chief.
Eighteen months into its integration into Fiat Group Automobiles, the American manufacturer’s future seems more secure with three new models (shared with Fiat’s Lancia brand) that will boost its image and sales performance.
Although Chrysler is expecting to sell relatively small numbers in the UK, Nigel Land, brand director at Chrysler UK, believes that improving residual values of its four-model line-up (Ypsilon, Delta, Grand Voyager and 300C) will help fleets to feel confident about adding the brand to choice lists.
“We need to protect our residual values so we will manage our volumes going into daily rental,” he said. “If residual values start to go down it becomes very difficult to build them back up.”
Being part of Fiat has opened up more opportunities to include newer technology in Chrysler products.
The company has a much improved CO2 position thanks to Fiat’s TwinAir technology and its JTD diesels. The Ypsilon TwinAir has CO2 emissions of 97g/km and a combined fuel consumption figure of 68.9 mpg.
Land believes Chrysler now has a line-up able to compete in the market and as the alliance with Fiat grows stronger, it will start to see an interesting level of cross-over between the businesses.
“Being part of the Fiat Group has created so much opportunity for us and helps us to move forward,” said Land. “We now have a product range which gives us the opportunity to be a credible alternative in the fleet market.
“We want to position ourselves as something different, but equally make sure that it does not leave buyers penalised by tax and BIK.”
When it comes to the fleet market, Land is quick to admit sales in the sector will be a slow building process. The latest model to be released, the 300c, is only expected to generate 450 sales by the end of 2012.
“We are realistic and conservative with our fleet aspirations and we are not expecting large volumes,” he said.
“We are placing a lot of demos in companies to help raise our profile; we understand what we want from the brand.”
Chrysler places great emphasis on being different and wants to offer corporate customers and user-choosers an alternative to its mainstream rivals.
Currently with 48 dealers situated around the UK with its sister manufacturer Jeep, Chrysler has big plans to extend this to 94 by 2014.