Walking into his new office, shortly after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy two years ago, was “like walking onto the Titanic,” recalls Pietro Gorlier. Though the automaker had survived its financial collapse, Chrysler’s parts and service division had been so badly stripped down, “We barely had the bodies to answer the phone.”
Things have changed in a hurry at Mopar, says Gorlier, who now heads the combined sales and service operations for Chrysler and its Italian partner, Fiat. If anything, the subsidiary is rapidly rebuilding its global presence, entering new markets, adding new parts, offering new services – and, for the first time in its more than seven-decade history, planting a Mopar badge on the back of a Chrysler product.
The first of these was the 2010 Dodge Challenger Mopar ‘10, a limited edition of the Dodge muscle car outfitted with unique stripes, black 20-inch wheels, black grille, a functional hood scoop, upgraded Super Track Pac suspension and hood pins. A second Mopar model, the Dodge Charger Mopar ’11 was recently introduced. As with the Mopar ’10, demand has well exceeded expectations and 1,500 will be built, a 50% bump from the originally-planned 1,000.
Yet another Mopar-badged performance car, likely to be dubbed the Mopar ’12, is under development for next year, Gorlier promises, though he’s keeping details under wraps for the time being. And the range of offerings could grow even larger in the years ahead, he hints.