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Muscle cars, utes appeal but hard to justify: Chrysler

Ram raid: Right-hand-drive versions of the Dodge Ram are only available through specialist converters such as Performax International while Fiat Chrysler Group Australia is unable to make the business case for the big pick-up truck.

Chrysler keen on Charger, Ram for local market but business case doesn’t stack up

3 Jun 2014

FIAT Chrysler Group says it is unlikely to fill the gaps left open by the loss of Australia’s car-making industry with new products from its global showroom.

Ford, Holden and Toyota all plan to quit the Australian car-making landscape by late 2017, with the loss of key models including car-based utes and even large four-door performance cars.

However, Fiat Chrysler Group Australia’s chief executive Veronica Johns said the loss of the local car-making industry presented little opportunity for the company, with the 300 attracting a different type of customer and the business case proving difficult for bringing in vehicles such as the Ram pick-up truck and the Charger muscle car.

“I think consumers changed the way they started buying cars quite a few years ago,” Ms Johns said when asked if there was any potential for a slew of new models for Australia.

“European cars are now very attractive – people just don’t think local anymore,” she said.

“We’ve been growing regardless of what has been happening outside of us (in terms of support for local car-makers), so it’s not going to have a real impact on us.

“The Chrysler 300 doesn’t compete in that part of the segment anyway, so it’s not as like we’re going to be seeing all these buyers coming from Ford and Holden into 300, because they’re just different buyers.”

Ms Johns said the loss of Australian manufacturers also did little to make a number of long-running business cases to bring in vehicles such as the Ram and Challenger and Charger performance cars, any more attractive.

“We would love to bring them into market, but you can’t just bring them in and sell a handful of them a year,” she said.

“It’s really a corporation decision, and we’ve put forward business cases, but we just haven’t been able to make anything work – who wants to buy a Charger if it is $120,000?”“It’s certainly something we look at and we will continue to do that, but we haven’t been able to make that work.”

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