It's official -- Fiat and Chrysler are moving house. In a move telegraphed months ago, the local distribution of Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands has been taken over by Chrysler Australia.
Clyde Campbell, the managing director of the Chrysler Australia group, said the Italian brands will go through a phase of "re-energising" as soon as the takeover takes place from May 1, 2012.
"We are delighted to be named the official distributor of Fiat, Fiat Commercial and Alfa Romeo, and we look forward to re-energising these brands in the Australian market," Campbell said.
Under the auspices of Ateco Automotive, the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands sold 2635 vehicles in 2011 (1091 Alfa Romeos and 1544 Fiats). This was an increase of 358 units from 2010, representing a 16.3 percent rise.
In contrast, Chrysler Australia group saw a surge in sales in the past 12 months - up by 27.5 percent in 2011 to a total of 11931 units Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge combined.
Campbell says he expects the Italian brands to benefit from the company's resurgence in Australia.
"We plan to tap into the inherent talent and expertise of our staff to take the Fiat and Alfa brands to the next level. We aim to apply the same enthusiasm that has driven such a leap forward in terms of our current Chrysler Australia sales," he said.
"I have no doubt we will see a re-awakening in the levels of sales awareness and interest for the Fiat and Alfa brands under our management," Campbell stated.
Part of the new deal will see the Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealer group, which consists of 17 passenger car and 22 commercial vehicle outlets, report to Chrysler Australia group.
Ateco Automotive's Public Affairs Manager, Edward Rowe, released a statement reading: "Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd will cease being the distributor of Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Fiat Commercial products in Australia and New Zealand from 1 May 2012."
The Italian-based Fiat Group purchased the US-based Chrysler Group (including the Dodge and Jeep brands) in a complicated multi-stage deal after the latter filed for bankruptcy in 2009. It's understood a change to the distribution arrangement in Australia was flagged from on high after Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne reviewed the performance of the Italian brands in the Australian marketplace.