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Fiat plans Chrysler makeover in 2011

Tue, 30 Nov 2010

Chrysler is to get a complete overhaul in 2011. After months of uncertainty, its new masters at Fiat are planning a raft of new models and targets to more than double UK sales.

Despite only selling 2692 Chryslers in the UK during 2009, Fiat and Chrysler marketing director Elena Bernardelli told Business Car magazine she expects Chrysler sales to exceed 6000 in 2011.

It's wholesale change for Chrysler's UK range in 2011. Expect new or facelifted versions of current models, and several new Lancias rebadged as Chryslers.

A new Delta and an Epsilon will arrive in British showrooms in 2011, wearing the Chrysler badge. The Golf-rivalling Delta will go on sale in June 2011 and the Mondeo-sized Epsilon will arrive in September 2011, in five-door format only.

Jeep hopes to sell more than 4000 vehicles in 2011, thanks largely to the introduction of a new Grand Cherokee.

That's a significant uplift in sales, considering just 2502 Jeeps were registered here in 2009.

Fiat will end sales of Chrysler-branded cars in Europe, instead selling them as Lancias. But in the UK the Chrysler badge lives on - despite Fiat marketing director Bernardelli admitting in an interview that the US brand has an 'image problem'.

'Chrysler is still stronger than Lancia in the UK,' she told Business Car.

Fiat, which part owns and controls Chrysler, is planning what amounts to a relaunch of Chrysler Jeep in the UK, after a dire 2010. The company has sold just fewer than 3000 cars in Britain in the first 10 months of the year - fewer than Porsche, Subaru or Saab.

By Richard Jones