Saad Chehab, the young global head of the Chrysler and Lancia brands, has a big job on his hands getting to grips with marketing the two famous names in Europe. In the UK, Lancia has been re-introduced branded Chrysler but in European countries retains its Italian name.
“You have got to figure out all the different languages, cultures, tax and emissions rules for each different country. It’s a challenge,” he said.
“What we have to do in the UK is press home the American and Detroit heritage of Chysler while in Europe we need to flaunt the Italian style of Lancia. We need to win back customers to both brands while sending out the message that our cars are different to everything else on the road.”
The message appears to be getting across in the US where Chehab said the Chrysler brand had its best month for four years in February.
“Word will spread,” he added. “We are very confident we now have a tactical marketing strategy.”
He is also excited about new models being jointly developed by the Chrysler and Fiat groups.
“We are taking a long look at trends which could affect our styling in the future and I am working closely with the designers.
“It’s trying to look into the future and things move so quickly. A couple of years ago nobody knew what an iPad was, now everyone wants one. We also want people to feel comfortable in our cars no matter what their age or social standing may be. Think of Nike, they are worn by kids or rich businessmen, they have a broad appeal. We need to be trendy and cool.
“A car is not just something to get you from A to B, it is a piece of art on wheels.”
Chehab hinted that the next generation Delta would be a lot more sporty reflecting the image of the old rally cars.
“But rallying is not as popular as it once was, so it will be sporty in a different way.”