Speaking with the media at the local launch of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, Fiat Chrysler Australia managing director Clyde Campbell emphasised the culture of the organisation has shifted to attract the right people to make the business a success.
Campbell admitted that although things are going rather well with Jeep, Chrysler and its latest flagship model, the 300 sedan, can do better.
“We are having a big win with Jeep, (but) haven’t got the Chrysler 300 where we want it to be. We would like to have a bigger order bank than we do.”
While Chrysler 300 orders are around 200 per month, Jeep has seen its best year on record with sales outstripping supply by around 300 units per month. Some Jeep models currently have a wait time of up to five months.
As for the Fiat and Alfa Romeo business, the strategy is likely to remain the same until at least February next year.
“For a variety of reasons, most of which [are] legal, there is not much we can do with the business until February next year. That’s part of the conditions of our acquisition.”
Nonetheless, Campbell sees a bright future for the two Italian brands with significant investment to increase brand awareness and change the approach to business operations. Compared to the brands’ previous distributor, private importer Ateco Automotive, Campbell believes things will be very different going forward.
“We can take a different view on the business than a private importer would. We would invest in that brand with the security of tenure that a private investor doesn’t have.”
The Fiat and Alfa Romeo range are certain to have a broader portfolio of models and a wider range of variants within each model.
There are also plans in place to expand the dealer network from the current 16 national Fiat and Alfa dealers.
“Customers don’t want to travel more than 12 minutes for service or more than 30 minutes to buy a car. With 16 dealers nationally for Fiat network, it doesn’t fall into those parameters for 87 percent of Australians.”
What Fiat or Alfa Romeo models would you like to see brought to Australia?