The full effect of the Chrysler Group's move under the Fiat umbrella, announced back in 2009, will soon be felt in the offices of its Australian outpost.
Chrysler Australia has announced that it is to take over distribution of the Fiat, Fiat Commercial and Alfa Romeo brands from May 1.
Currently under the care of Sydney-based Ateco, the 17 passenger and 22 commercial outlets in the Australian Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealer group will report to Chrysler's Melbourne headquarters.
The brands will join Chrysler Australia's existing stable of brands, which includes Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.
Across the three American brands, new models and updates saw Australian sales grow by 27.5 per in 2011, with January and February 2012 figures up 78 percent over the same period last year.
As for the Italian marques, Chrysler Australia boss Clyde Campbell is enthusiastic that a much-needed sales boost is on the horizon.
“We aim to apply the same enthusiasm that has driven such a leap forward in terms of our current Chrysler Australia sales."
“I have no doubt we will see a re-awakening in the levels of sales awareness and interest for the Fiat and Alfa brands under our management," Campbell concluded.
In February, Fiat moved just 33 cars - all 500s (the only car remaining on the books here) - into new Australian homes.
Alfa Romeo did not fare much better, selling just 95 cars last month: 13 of the 159 sedan, 58 Guilietta hatches, 23 MiTo hatches and one Brera.
Speaking with TMR today, Chrysler Australia's Lenore Fletcher said that the company will look at the current Fiat and Alfa Romeo line-ups to measure their current market position and opportunities to build sales.
"It depends on the product, and what the availability and the offering that's available is, and that's something we have to take into account," Ms Fletcher said.
"Chrysler Australia has shown quite a talent for getting in the right vehicles and the right price, and I think that's what we've seen here today."
Whether this new arrangement will see other brands in the Fiat empire return to Australia, such as Lancia, is unclear.
Ms Fletcher said that opportunities are being considered, but with the new management structure only just announced, it is too soon say.
"We'll be having a very close look at the product line-up that the brands offer and seeing if there are any other brands or other models that we can bring into the fold," Ms Fletcher said.
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