Italian carmaker Fiat could kill off its group-owned sister company Chrysler in the UK, according to new rumours.
With the American marque posting a torrid sales performance in Britain so far this year, shifting just 1,673 cars, it is thought that Chrysler could be on its last legs in the UK market following reports from industry and dealer experts auto-retail.co.uk.
The potential axing of the brand comes in the same year as Fiat’s buyout of Chrysler in a deal worth £2.68 billion to create a new automotive conglomerate, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Signs that Chrysler could be for the chop are prevalent. It’s been reported that the Chrysler name is missing from the line-up in some newly built Fiat Group stores, while a dwindling model range highlights that Chrysler’s parent company is getting ready to phase out the US marque altogether in Britain.
Fiat took control of the Chrysler franchise in Britain back in 2010, rebadging the Lancia Ypsilon city car and Delta hatchback sold on the continent, alongside US-fostered products such as the Grand Voyager people carrier and the 300C saloon.
Two years later sales peaked at 3,333 cars, with 2014 sales on track to net just over 50% of that total.
Having sold as few as 1,673 cars this year, the Chrysler brand’s dismal performance is actually worse than now-defunct rival American firm Chevrolet, who recorded sales of 2,764 to the end of September 2014.
Chrysler insiders believe the end is nigh, too. Speaking to auto-retail.co.uk, an unnamed source revealed: “The Grand Voyager MPV [a traditional strong seller for Chrysler in the UK] – which does not benefit from the latest USA upgrades, is in a shrinking large MPV sector – and the 300C are struggling.
“To all intents and purposes the larger Chryslers are running out. There is no critical mass worth talking about.”
The future is not too bright for Chrysler, then. Especially when parent company Fiat seems intent on pumping funding into sister brand Jeep to develop and promote new products such as the new Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Renegade off-roaders.