Soon, customers in the United Kingdom will not be able to buy a Chrysler-branded vehicle in showrooms. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to end sales of Chrysler cars in the UK to concentrate on the Jeep brand. The carmaker currently sells the Chrysler 300C sedan and Voyager large minivan in the UK. It is also selling the Lancia Delta compact and Ypsilon subcompact cars that are rebadged as Chryslers.
Chrysler saw its sales drop 21 percent in the UK in 2014 to just 1,982 vehicles – most of which were Ypsilons -- according to data from the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. FCA is expecting to sell 10,000 Jeeps in the UK in 2015, including 7,000 new Renegade subcompact SUVs.
Jeep saw its sales in the UK surge 75 percent to 3,909 units last year. The UK and Ireland were the only markets in Europe where Lancias were rebadged as Chryslers.
FCA will also stop selling Chryslers in Ireland. In 2014, FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne disclosed that the carmaker will stop selling the Lancia brand in Europe except Italy, where the Ypsilon remains a hot item. According to FCA, it will continue to cover specific customer orders in the UK for the Ypsilon until 2017. Lancia sold 61,483 Ypsilons in Europe in 2014, majority of which were in Italy.
Chrysler was established on June 6, 1925 by Walter Chrysler when the Maxwell Motor Co. was reorganized into the Chrysler Corp. No thanks to the 2008 and 2009 automotive industry crisis, Chrysler saw itself running low cash with sales hitting rock bottom. In fact, its sales were the worst among the Detroit 3.
In January 2009, Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler LLC signed a non-binding term sheet to form a global alliance. Chrysler filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 30, 2009, and at the same time announced an alliance with Fiat. Prior to the bankruptcy filing, Chrysler had already received $4.5 billion in financing from the U.S. government.
The bankruptcy protection afforded to Chrysler allowed the carmaker to operate as a going concern as well as renegotiate its debt structure and other obligations. This led to a default on over $4 billion in secured debts. On May 31, 2009, a bankruptcy judge approved a proposed government restructuring plan and sale of Chrysler's assets.
A new company – owned 20 percent by Fiat and 55 percent by the UAW retirement health care trust – would acquire purchase most of the assets of Chrysler. The new company Chrysler Group LLC completed the purchase on June 10, 2009, allowing Chrysler to emerge from bankruptcy.
On January 21, 2014, Fiat purchased the remaining shares of Chrysler it doesn’t own for $3.65 billion. Days later on January 29, 2014, Fiat announced a reorganization that would see a merger into a new holding company. Fiat and Chrysler merged into FCA on October 12, 2014 after receiving approval from the board in June 2014 and shareholders in August 2014.