Commentary by Bob Aldons - Northstar Chrysler Jeep Dodge
The motor industry is a moving dynamic and evolving place - changes in ownership of dealerships pales into insignificance compared to the movement of ownership worldwide. The post GFC take- over of Chrysler by Fiat has led to a massive recovery of Chrysler as well as the incursion into the USA by the now parent company. It's done for a reason, generally not to feed inflated egos.
According to the Carsguide team and recently confirmed by Clyde Campbell from CJD head office, Chrysler Australia will wake over the management and distribution of Fiat and Alfa products for Australian and New Zealand effective May 1st 2012.
What does that mean for us in Redcliffe? How does Northstar Fiat and Northstar Alfa Romeo sound?
Rolls off the tongue pretty well, but there's a long way to go before that even becomes a thought. Existing dealers (not too many in Brisbane) should be given the opportunity to retain and expand their presence - there's only one in Brisbane for Alfa - in Fortitude Valley, but expect Chrysler to roll out a fairly aggressive dealer presence in the next year or two.
We'll be a bit wary of any small European brands - we've had experience with Citroen and Renault, both handed back to the distributor during the GFC, but with the strength of the Chrysler management team behind them, Fiat and Alfa will certainly in my opinion, be a different story.
In the meantime, if you're looking for a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge, call into Northstar at 320 Anzac Avenue Redcliffe and let us show you what great service is all about. Visit our web site at www.nsmg.com.au, check the month specials pages at www.lovemyjeep.com.au or www.lovemychrysler.com.au or www.lovemydodge.com.au .
If you want to research any of our group brands, or are looking for articles and stories you can check them out at www.mycarreview.com.au.
The move follows the Fiat Group's takeover of Chrysler.
Fiat and Alfa Romeo will revert to factory distribution in Australia.
From May, the two European makes will no longer be distributed in Australia and New Zealand by the independent Ateco Group in Sydney, headed by entrepreneur Neville Crichton. Ateco also holds the rights for Citroen, Lotus and the chinese brands Chery and Great Wall.
Sister company European Automotive Imports has the distribution rights for Ferrari and Maserati. The move follows the Fiat Group's takeover of Chrysler. The new Group is combining its distribution arms in all major markets and concentrating on those, such as Chrysler Australia, that are factory owned.
The changes to Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Fiat commercial vehicle distribution will have no effect on the distribution of Ferrari and Maserati, which remain with European Automotive Imports. All existing Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealers will move with the brands to Chrysler, while arrangements for staff at Ateco who worked exclusively on Alfa Romeo and Fiat will be made on an individual basis.
At one time Volkswagen, Audi, Suzuki and Kia have all spent periods under the guiding hand of Ateco. "There is no doubt that without Ateco, the Fiat Group could not even consider returning Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Fiat Commercial Vehicles to factory distribution," chairman Neville Crichton said.
"Ateco has proven to them that all three brands have a long term place in the Australian and New Zealand markets, that there is consistent and growing demand for their products and that Australia and New Zealand have, once again, got a key role to play in the companys global aspirations."
Crichton is noted for rescuing and restoring a unique part of Alfa Romeo's heritage when he purchased the last remaining Alfa Romeo G1 in the world, the model that has the distinction of being the very first Alfa Romeo.
Believing that all Alfa Romeos must be a driveable, not museum pieces, Neville Crichton carried out a ground-up restoration that was so thorough the restored car won its class in the worlds leading classic car event, the Pebble Beach Concours in the USA. During Alfa Romeos Centenary Year, the G1 toured Australia successfully competing in classic car events across Australia.
"Ateco is a constantly changing and evolving company," Crichton said. "As we say good bye to Alfa Romeo and Fiat we will be welcoming into our company new brands and businesses that will benefit from the unique skills and talents we have to offer."
Managing director of the Chrysler Australia, Clyde Campbell, confirmed the takeover of the iconic Italian brands. "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 new agreement, the current Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealer group, which numbers 17 passenger dealerships with 22 commercial vehicle outlets across the country, will report into the Melbourne-based Chrysler Australia group. Sales for the Fiat, Fiat Commercial and Alfa Romeo brands during 2011 were recorded by VFACTS at 2,635 vehicles.