The differences between Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles will become far more pronounced in future, Chrysler Group president and CEO Dieter Zetsche said in an interview with the Detroit Free Press (DFP).

More details were not forthcoming, the DFP said, but Zetsche added that the Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring are so similar that he would not have approved them for production.

Industry analyst Jim Hall at consultant AutoPacific told the DFP that the differences could be as marked as Chrysler offering a low-slung and luxurious sedan while Dodge rolls out a large and sporty tall hatchback from the LX programme when the full-size Chrysler 300M and Dodge Intrepid sedans are replaced next year.

Zetsche told the DFP he expects the new models to significantly boost Chrysler-brand sales in Europe within five or six years, up from the minivan-dominated 77,676 Western Europe total in 2001.

Zetsche admitted few of the current Chrysler products meet European customer demands, saying to the DFP: “We develop products for NAFTA. As our new products become available, we will have more that are a good fit for (Europe). You will see slow, constant growth over the next few years.”

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Zetsche told the DFP that Chrysler, being realistic, knew its current European dealer network could not handle high sales volumes while most European customers were unaware of the brand or did not consider it desirable. “That is a long-term challenge,” he said.

Greater differences between Chrysler and Dodge vehicles will also make them more appealing in the US, Zetsche told the DFP.

“What the customer sees, touches, feels clearly has to be brand-specific. That’s not just between Mercedes and the Chrysler Group. That is true between Dodge and Chrysler and Jeep. You will see much more differentiation between the Chrysler brands in the future, Zetsche added in his DFP interview.