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The boss of Fiat Chrysler Australia says he is looking to replicate the success of Jeep across his newly acquired Italian brands starting from next year.

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.

“We’ve had to build the right culture [at Jeep and Chrysler], which is why I think we will do well with the Fiat and Alfa business,” Campbell said.

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?

  • Zahmad

    Bring back the Bravo/Ritmo and the Punto…

    • Zaccy16

      yeah they were decent cars but overly priced

    • Bass

       I have a Punto and Ritmo, they’re great cars and the most reliable european cars i’ve owned. What really killed their sales was the lack of an auto transmission.

  • Bastardos

    ATECO has done FIAT and Alfa no favours.  The 500 must have $10K price cuts and the Guiletta likewise.  These two cars could do seriou business in Oz if the pricing, specifications and range was looked at carefully.

    • Ly61

      10k… I don’t think they want to put the 500 a yaris rival though. Any they shouldn’t.

  • Pauly

    Fiat is not a premium brand! Drop the prices and people will come.

    Alfa doesn’t have any new cars they can bring to Australia to my knowledge? But price cuts must be looked into seriously. They are asking simply too much for what many see as a pretty but highly unreliable brand.

    • Zaccy16

      yeah good point about fiat, in the uk the 500 is around the same price as a base mazda 2/fiesta. I hope alfa bring more models here because they have a sense of soul that other brands don’t have

    • Joe

       ….so you have owned an Alfa or Fiat have you?………do you want to have a drive of my 150k old 156? Still has more soul and brio than any German Camry………

      …….please people, Alfa have NOT had ANY reliability issues for about the last 15 years, no more than any other brand, so get over it………

      • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

        Mate it is called perception.

        I work for a eurobrand plastered with so called unreliable cars.

        it is a struggle to convince people otherwise.

        BTW if an alfa or fiat come through the doors to trade everyone runs a mile.

      • John K

        Joe you are spot on – I bought an ALFA 156 2.5L 24v in 2004 (the year they reintroduced the proper grill and 60’s door handles etc). Best car I have ever owned and no a single problem in 8 years and motoring

  • Peanut

    Stuff the 300C, we want the Challenger and Charger !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://5reasonreviews.com/ Stephen Alfris

    Whatever the new strategy – I hope we get to see more Alfa’s on the road

    In terms of price – I do agree that it is difficult sell to charge the same for a MiTo as an A1…

  • gt86.com.au

    if VW owned them, then people may pay the vw prices. they need to readjust their pricing strategy, and offer fixed cost servicing and possibly even a guaranteed buy back price (similar to bmw).. I would even suggest that they look at offering a better warranty. People need to feel confident in the quality of the products (even if its not that great, due to their scratchy history)

  • Johnno

    Bring the new Fiat Panda and drop the prices on FIAT cars to compete its normal competitors overseas eg Mazda 2, Volkswagon, etc. With ALFA , I would keep charging premium prices and even increase the prices and invest the profitability in mitigating the poor brand perception. With the  new products coming, ALFA has every right to compete with the likes of AUDI and BMW for the prestige end of motoring. The new products starting from next year will be genuinely competitive and have cutting edge technology eg 9 speed autos, extensive us of high strength aluminium for the chassis, 1.8 litre turbo putting out up to 300 bhp. Their is substance behind the manufacturing but no one knows about it. 

    The new distributor needs to work on how to make the brands be perceived as reliable again once the new tsunami of  products start coming through from February next year. Owner of Italian cars like me know the products are 100% reliable and have been for years, however 99% of the population still thinks they are “pretty but unreliable” and wont go into a showroom. In Brazil, Fiat are the market leaders in terms of sales and not Toyota or VW. Mazda for example are going to be using a Fiat factory to build Mazda cars for the European market. Likewise, the new Alfa spider is going to be built in Hiroshima off the next generation MX5 chassis with Italian design, engines and drive train. Does the public know this sort of stuff?). Whilst waiting for the new cars to come to Australia, I would be investing in focus groups to see what would work to change peoples perceptions of Italian reliability to get people visiting show rooms again eg guaranteed buy back for resale assurance, 5 year warranty, etc. 

    • Abarth1

      Johnno – that is the best, most succinct comment I’ve ever read!!  It echoes exactly what my experiences with Italian car ownership have been.  I’m now working in sales at a FIAT-Alfa dealer because of my passion for and belief in these cars….perceptions are changing slowly I think, but are miles behind the reality of owning these cars – we DO NOT see MiTos or Giuliettas or 500s coming back outside of their servicing schedules, unless the customers are just dropping in to say hi or ask a usage related question – basically though, the only way  these brilliant marques in Australia are going to go is up, WAY up.

      • Johnno

        Abarth1 – thank you for your compliment. For more people to go into your showroom, there needs to be a significant shift in perception. A customer of yours should be able to hold their FIAT/ALFA car key with pride and not have to defend their decision to an ignorant public based on misinformed opinions. Alfa and Fiat have the biggest potential of all the car brands in the world. They can do practical/utilitarian “I just need transport” vehicles with the fiat range through to sophisticated engineering that appeals to motoring enthusiasts with a range of Alfa/Abarth cars. 
        I see Alfa like Maserati 10 years ago when no one really thought any good of the car (when the reality is that ALFA nowadays is actually very good when Maserati wasnt really). Look at Maserati now, arguably one of if not the coolest brand in the world. If Jaguar can turn their fortunes around, then there is every reason that Alfa/fiat should be able to with the unique mix of technology, quality and flair.  Thank you for keeping the passion alive. 

  • Smurftums

    Panda, Punto, Bravo and Multipla for passenger Fiats. Fiorino and Doblo for the commercial side of things (and a short wheelbase Scudo for good measure). Price them at VW levels.

  • GJJ

    Abarth punto asap, thanks

  • GJJ

    plus make jeep dealers official fiat and alfa service centres, 

  • rob

    I agree with the above comments. I think marketing and brand awareness is crucial. Many people still do not know that Fiats are being sold in Australia. The Fiats need to be price competitive with Japanese and korean alternatives, while alfa needs to be marketed as a premium brand. Fiats and Alfas had a much higher profile here in the 1970’s because they were marketed well and offered superior performance to the alternatives, even though costing more. My father owned a fiat 128 SL coupe, which, at the time in 1973, cost as much as a Holden Premier but was a great car and people bought them because they were perceived as exclusive and cool. I think more promotion is required, together with more models-the Fiat Punto(including Abarth version)  and Bravo re-introduced and possibly Panda, Doblo and even the Lancia Delta. There nare some great cars on offer. Look at the example set by Opel-introduced recently into the Australian market with a range of models and heavy marketing. Hurry-up Fiat Chrysler and start selling!

  • italian affair

    Yes. Fiat and Alfa are brilliant cars.  They need three things to get them recognised and moving: (a) Factory based distribution, thankfully we have that now, and the stodgy old Ateco is gone,  tick.  (b)
    A price cut.  Think how Hyundai and Kia started in this country, value for money cars,  followed by steadily increasing buyer awareness and respect and now look where they are!  Fiat needs to compete on the same level as Mazda and VW, not above it.   and  (c) Better marketing and consistent product.  This was Ateco’s nemesis.  They’re models were all over the place. They’d bring in one model then 6 months later it was gone.   Then they’d announce plans to rerelease, then …….nothing.   Definetely bring in Ritmo and new panda 4 x 4.  I have a Ritmo for 4 years and it is a perfect car, fantastic to drive and ultra reliable.  I can say its the best car I have owned.  But people don’t know how good these cars are.   The only way you are going to get the brands moving is for buyers to see them on the road.  It is only when they see them in decent numbers that they feel safe buying them.  And that will mean getting bums on seats in the early days with competitive pricing and  good backup.   Fiat and Alfa would have to be the most underrated brands in Australia, yet they are such cutting edge product.   Enormous potential here for increased perception and eventual market share.   Come on Chrysler, you’ve got big shoulders….!!!!!!

  • Oscar_amante_72

    The new 4C, the 159 replacement, the Mito GTA, there is also room for a super saloon sporting a V8 Maserati style engine. Oh and of course the spider and Brera but please no more Opel engines such as the 2.2/4 cylinder and 3.2 V6 engines. The Alfa brand should use true Italian engineering if it is to continue its tradition. I own two Alfas, a 159 2.4JTDm and a Mito Sport