Chrysler LLC is relying on the redesigned Grand Cherokee to raise sales in Japan by at least 21% in 2011 and to help the company rebuild its bankruptcy-tainted reputation. In Japan, Jeep brand’s top-tier SUV sold only 88 units in 2009.
However, the company aims to achieve annual sales of 500 to 1,000 units when the overhauled Grand Cherokee arrives at Japanese showrooms on March 12, according to Chrysler Japan President Toshiyuki Shimegi.
He said that this will raise Chrysler’s sales above 3,000 in Japan for 2011, from 2,350 last year. Chrysler, which in 1996 was able to sell 15,000 vehicles annually in Japan, is gradually recovering from the 2009 bankruptcy reorganization that reduced budgets for overseas operations.
Total sales of Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands increased by about 15% in 2010 in Japan. These were partly aided by the Tokyo government’s scrap incentives, which boosted demand for the Jeep Patriot.
That vehicle, which sold 760 units last year, is Chrysler’s No. 1 model in Japan. Chrysler also has other new models that are set to arrive. These next additions are the redesigned Chrysler 300C large sedan, which may come in late 2011 or early 2012, and the Chrysler 200 sedan, which may arrive in 2012 or early 2013.
The 300C is the only Chrysler car offered in Japan. The single Dodge offering is the Nitro SUV. Chrysler also seeks to fuel sales by slowly increasing its dealer network.
In Chrysler’s peak sales years of the 1990s, it benefited from a partnership that enabled it to sell through more than 2,000 outlets in Honda’s dealer network. Of course, this relationship has ended a long time ago. Chrysler currently only sells through only 29 dealers at 52 outlets. [via autonews - sub. required]