Chrysler Group is preparing to sell more than 2 million vehicles next year, said CEO Sergio Marchionne as the automaker showed off its new Fiat dealership in the heart of Los Angeles.
Significantly, Marchionne said that at least a quarter of those 2 million units — more than 500,000 — will be sold outside the United States, everywhere from Canada to Mexico, Europe and South America.
Marchionne has said from the time he took on the chief executive role, last year, that building international sales would be key to Chrysler’s future success.
It is also part of the process by which the federal government, which bailed out the bankrupt maker, last year, will make it possible for Chrysler’s Italian partner Fiat to increase its stake in the U.S. company from 20% to 35%.
Sales of Chrysler vehicles are already strong in Canada and have started to grow again in Mexico, Chrysler officials said. Tapping Fiat’s broad distribution network is expected to help Chrysler build demand in South America.
Chrysler also expects to add 50,000 units of incremental sales of the Fiat 500, said Laura Soave, the head of the Fiat brand in the U.S. During the formal introduction of the minicar, at the 2010 L.A. Auto Show, she revealed the American version will carry a base price of $15,500.
In a sign of the company’s newfound aggressiveness, Chrysler showed off the four-level Motor Village of Los Angeles, located at 2025 South Figueroa St., just blocks from the Los Angeles Convention Center, in downtown Los Angeles.
“The Los Angeles Motor Village goes above and beyond the traditional Chrysler Group dealership,” said
Peter Grady, Chrysler Group’s Vice President of Network Development and Fleet. “This dealership creates a presence both inside and out. Our customers will experience our brands in unique salons that reflect each brand’s identity and character.”
Chrysler Group in January began renovations on the building, which housed a Pierce-Arrow dealership in the 1920s. This showcase dealership will mark the return of the Chrysler Group brands to central Los Angeles after an absence of about 10 years, Grady noted.
The dealership’s focal point is a dramatic, five-story glass tower that will be used to display Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat vehicles.