Chrysler Russia at the Moscow International Motor Show
Chrysler LLC is set to accelerate the growing presence of its three car brands in Russia with the introduction of two significant new vehicles. The new Jeep Cherokee (Liberty in the U.S.) and all-new Dodge Journey, the first crossover in the Company's Dodge model range, were revealed to the media and public at the 2008 Moscow International Motor Show.
Russia has quickly grown to become one of Chrysler's top 10 markets in volume sales. After DaimlerChrysler AG was divided just over one year ago, Chrysler Russia SAO was established as general importer for the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands in the country. The new Company's task was to reinforce the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands in Russia and its participation in Moscow International Automobile Salon was an opportunity to emphasize the first 12 months of the Company's renovated presence in the Russian market.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the first half of 2008, the Russian car market grew by 41 percent compared with the same period in 2007, with sales volumes totaling 1,645,000 units.
Sales of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles are well ahead of the market. During the first seven months of 2008, total sales of the three brands grew by 71 percent compared with the same period last year, surpassing the figures for the entire calendar year 2007. The Russian market achieved the most significant sales growth in Europe for Chrysler and became the Company's ninth largest market outside North America. Dodge, with a 112 percent growth in sales so far this year, is the third-fastest growing brand in Russia (for the first seven months of 2008).
"Although sales in Russia are growing significantly, Russians are in fact only now starting to discover Chrysler vehicles. Let me remind you that Dodge brand was officially introduced in Russia as recently as two years ago here at the Moscow Motor Show," says John Stech, CEO – Chrysler Russia. "Now, every second car sold by us in Russia is a Dodge and I am sure that the new cars presented here in Moscow will contribute even further to Russians' interest in our brands."
One of the reasons behind this success lies in the continued expansion of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge into Russian regional areas. In the first half of 2008, five new dealerships came into operation. Chrysler Russia has recently established a new retail presence in regions such as Black Earth Region (Voronezh), Bashkortostan (Ufa) and Volga-Vyatka Region (Nizhny Novgorod). A new dealer center also helped reinforce the Company's position in the well-developed market of St. Petersburg, which now boasts three dealers. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge sales are being conducted in 17 of Russia's largest regions through the efforts of 22 official dealers.
The two new cars introduced at the Automobile Salon prove that the Company is paying particular attention to the specific needs of the Russian car market and local consumer demands, helping to reinforce the positions of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands in the market.
In Russia, the Jeep brand has given a name to an entire class of vehicles. The heroic heritage of the Jeep brand and its dominance of the SUV market go back more than 65 years.
The latest version of the legendary off-roader, the Jeep Cherokee, the second vehicle introduced by Chrysler Russia at the Moscow Motor Show, reflects the classic Jeep design. While maintaining the right-sized proportions that have made it a success around the world, Jeep has enhanced Cherokee's rugged Jeep style with a flatter, clamshell hood; a taller, seven-slot grille; encased round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel flares.
Dodge Journey, on the other hand, is Chrysler's response to another peculiar Russian trait. Studies have shown as few as one to three percent of Russian families own more than two cars. For a number of reasons, Russians prefer to own one single multi-purpose car that is able to complete a broad range of tasks and correspond to its owner's personality and way of life. This D-segment vehicle combines the best qualities from different classes into one new offering for the Dodge brand.
Dodge Journey is engineered to meet life's changing demands by offering a unique combination of versatility and flexibility in a bold, sporty package. It takes on the practicality and capability of a minivan with the overall efficiency of a passenger car.
"We are becoming increasingly active outside North America. In the past, Chrysler used to aim at niche segments, offering cars that had been originally created for the American market," says Thomas Hausch, Vice President – International Sales, Chrysler LLC. "Today, outside of the U.S., we offer vehicles that were designed with consideration for varied market requirements around the world and that policy is paying dividends in terms of sales, with Russia in particular driving our international sales growth."