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Mopar open to Aussie accessories
Newfound global focus by Mopar opens the door for Australian-designed products
20 Aug 2012
FIAT-CHRYSLER is hoping to expand the Mopar brand here, strengthening the servicing side of the business and looking to the local aftermarket industry to add an Australian flavour to its accessory line-up.
Fiat Chrysler Asia-Pacific chief operating officer Mike Manley told GoAuto that Mopar has become more responsive to markets outside its North American base.
Mr Manley, who is also global president and CEO of Jeep, said the markets are now able to “dictate to a certain extent the sort of accessories and products they need”.
Mopar’s newfound openness could result in the products of Australian’s respected accessories industry – particularly for off-road applications like Jeep – being sold here with Mopar branding by Fiat-Chrysler dealerships, through Mopar’s online store and even exported.
Mr Manley indicated he would be happy to see Australian designs among Mopar’s product offerings and said the company is working “very closely with various suppliers around the world to get those products under the Mopar brand”.
He would also like to see Mopar replicate in Australia the development it has achieved in its domestic US market since the group emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy following the GFC.
From top: Fiat-Chrysler Group's Mike Manley Jeep Mopar J12 concept Jeep Mopar JK-8 Independence Kit.
“Over the last couple of years, the guys in Mopar have done a lot of work in terms of developing the brand in general,” he said, adding that increasing its profile as a servicing brand, as well as an aftersales entity, was important.
Mopar, a contraction of ‘motor parts’, became Chrysler Group’s official parts and service brand in the 1930s.
Its involvement in factory-backed performance modifications and accessories has led to a strong association with muscle cars and motor racing – and almost any Mopar product sold in the US can be sourced in Australia via Fiat-Chrysler.
Fiat Chrysler Group Australia helped organise the Mopar Nationals at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria last December, with the aim of bringing together drivers of old-school and modern-era Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles while promoting the availability of Mopar products in Australia.
Team Mopar runs a carbon-fibre-bodied 820kW Dodge dragster in the ANDRA Pro Stock race series and participated in the Mopar Nationals event.
Mopar’s global marketing efforts include producing heavily modified Chrysler Group products, particularly outlandish Jeep Wranglers for the annual Easter Jeep Safari event held in Moab, Utah.
There has been a recent trend towards Wrangler-based, retro-styled military or commercial vehicle concepts such as the Nukizer 715, J12 and Mighty FC.
Mopar last year launched the JK-8 Independence kit, which converts the Wrangler off-roader into a ute.
Mr Manley said Mopar produced the kit in response to high demand and revealed that Jeep is close to making a decision on whether an official ute version of the next-generation Wrangler will be produced.
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