Auburn Hills, Mich. – Chrysler Group LLC’s renewed focus on the California market is paying dividends as retail registrations increase, new dealers open their doors, and new products resonate with consumers in the Golden State.
- Retail registrations up 55 percent in the state in 2011
- Share of retail registrations up 1.3 percentage points in 2011
- New California-specific business center opens in Irvine
- 17 new Chrysler Group dealers join the network
- 20 FIAT studios open during the last 12 months
- More studios to open in 2012 in largest FIAT market in the U.S.
In California, where Chrysler Group opened its new California Business Center last year, retail registrations shot up 55 percent in 2011, according to R. L. Polk & Co. data. Chrysler Group’s share of the California market, based on retail registrations, was 4.8 percent in 2011, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from a 3.5 percent share in 2010.
Chrysler Group volume increased 55 percent to 50,759 registrations in California in 2011, up from 32,768 registrations in 2010. In comparison, the industry sales in California last year grew by only 13 percent.
“We’re no longer ‘California Dreamin’,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales. “We understand the importance of this market and we’re going after it vigorously with new and improved products, a growing dealer network, and consumer advertising and incentives tailored for this unique consumer and marketplace.”
Several factors are contributing to Chrysler Group’s building momentum in the state, but none more vital than the launch of 16 all-new and significantly-refreshed models in 2010 and 2011, vehicles like the Chrysler 300 flagship sedan, the Chrysler 200 sedan and convertible, and the Jeep® Grand Cherokee SUV that California consumers are warmly accepting. Complementing this aggressive product wave, Chrysler Group has added 17 new dealers in the state in just the last 18 months, has opened 20 FIAT studios in the last year, and has created a California Business Center that focuses almost exclusively on what is considered the most important car market in the world.
The 17 new Chrysler Group dealers that have opened throughout the state during the last 18 months are welcomed additions to the dealer network, especially as Chrysler Group prepares to launch its all-new 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan. The Dart blends Alfa Romeo DNA with the Dodge brand’s passion for performance and style, resulting in a groundbreaking compact sedan that will compete in California’s largest segment.
“We have rebuilt our dealer network in California, and more new dealers are coming this year,” said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s Vice President of Network Development and Fleet. “We must equip our dealers with the product that California consumers desire, vehicles with both fuel efficiency and style. We now have those vehicles and more are on the way.”
In addition to the 17 new Chrysler Group dealers, the 20th new FIAT studio just opened in San Jose, Calif. With 20 open studios, California is the FIAT brand’s largest market in the U.S. for the Fiat 500 hatchback, Cabrio, and soon to arrive Abarth, the ultimate high-performance small car.
Early in 2011 Chrysler Group divided its former West Business Center into two organizations, creating the new California Business Center in Irvine, Calif., and relocating the West Business Center to Phoenix, Ariz. The West Business Center handles all of the states west of the Rocky Mountains except California.
The creation of a California-specific business center allows Chrysler Group to focus on the unique needs of the California consumer, creating advertising and delivering incentives tailored for this market and its consumers. The California Business Center is best positioned to communicate with California consumers and is dedicated to determining their product needs and desires.
“California consumers are some of the most savvy, knowledgeable, and demanding consumers in the world,” said Jason Stoicevich, Director of the California Business Center. “We are focused listening, learning, and delivering on what their unique needs are. We need to show consumers that we are a company of desirable, relevant brands.”