Dodge is not dead Down Under, but there's little hope that the brand will survive much longer.
Speaking to motoring.com.au at the Beijing Motor Show this week, Chrysler Asia Pacific head Mike Manley reconfirmed the official decisions to axe Dodge Down Under had not been made, but admitted its future was bleak and needed to be finalised soon.
"We genuinely haven't taken the decision to formally kill Dodge in Australia. But if we follow the same pattern that we have followed in other international markets it's a matter of time," Manley told motoring.com.au.
"Our big focus has been looking at what we're going to do with the [Fiat Alfa] distribution [in Australia]. Now we've put that behind us, we have to look at our portfolio and make a decision on Dodge," Manley stated.
Manley says Fiat and Chrysler need to focus their marketing and sales efforts to tap the potential of the Asia Pacific marketplace. In markets like Australia that has seen extra focus on Jeep for example.
Though detail on product priorities for Fiat Down Under is still cloudy, potential for new right-hand drive Dodge models is even more problematic. Indeed, with no plans to build Dodge Dart for right-hand drive markets and the brand's larger cars firmly US focussed, the brand is unlikely to see any new model action Down Under.
Most likely to survive the exit of Dodge from the local marketplace is Journey, rebadged as a Fiat and sold under the Fremont badge (pictured). This is the course the company has taken in the European market where sales of the three-row MPV-cum-SUV have "surprised" Fiat execs.
"I wasn't sure what to expect in the first markets we tried the change in Europe. [But] One of the things we didn't do was to try and pretend all of a sudden that it was a different car," Manley told motoring.com.au
Current models -- Nitro, Caliber and Journey -- have accounted for around 440 sales Down Under (March YTD). motoring.com.au estimates dealer and distributor stocks of the models are in less than 400 units.