The “other” Chrysler Group brand will be making a big splash when the annual SEMA Show rolls into Las Vegas next month, Mopar planning to reveal 20 different customized versions of various Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and SRT models – and perhaps a unique vehicle of its own, hints MOPAR president Pietro Gorlier.
For years operating in the shadows as little more than the supplier of replacement wipers and wheels, Mopar has begun to emerge as a distinct brand – and profit center — of its own since Chrysler was taken over by Fiat following the U.S. maker’s 2009 bankruptcy. And observers say that’s no surprise. The automotive aftermarket has become big business, generating at least $30 billion in sales annually, according to the Special Equipment Marketers Association which sponsors the annual Las Vegas show.
Mopar isn’t abandoning its traditional business. If anything, it has expanded its operations as the provider of replacement parts for the combined Chrysler-Fiat alliance. But it is also positioning itself as a powerhouse rival to traditional aftermarket vendors, whether producing parts of its own or sourcing them from outside vendors.