Now that Fiat is in the driver’s seat at Chrysler Group LLC, the Italian automaker has indicated that it will utilize its well established global sales and distribution networks to reach a larger market for Chrysler brands including Jeep.
Over the past 30 years domestic automakers have, to a large degree, ceded foreign markets to foreign manufacturers and since merging with Daimler-Benz in 1997, Chrysler has not exported Jeep vehicles to the same degree that it did prior to the merger.
Former Chrysler Chief Financial Officer Jerry York recently stated that Daimler had neglected the exportation side of the business during the decade it controlled Chrysler.
For Jeep, the failure to aggressively pursue foreign markets seems especially short-sighted considering that a number of models were originally designed with exportation in mind. The Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler, for instance, were designed with support for left-hand and right-hand cabin and steering configurations.
Fiat Chief Executive, Sergio Marchionne, recently stated that, ‘The past few years have offered several painful lessons on what it will take to survive in the modern-day automotive industry. The (Fiat / Chrysler) alliance is a bold first step to implement those lessons we’ve learned, but it is only a first step. Now we must prove that we can make it work.’
The New Chrysler appears ready to implement those painful lessons, in part, by embracing a new global exporting strategy that includes the Middle East, Latin America and South America, where Fiat has a well-developed sales operation in place.
On June 26, Marchionne was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article as saying he was "very, very pleased" with the progress the Fiat team had made thus far in their efforts to turn Chrysler around and promised to unveil a ‘roadmap form the product standpoint’ by August.