Fiat and Chrysler will step up their integration next month as Fiat begins to take over sales, service and distribution of all Chrysler brands in 11 European countries.
In a process that’s expected to take about two years, Fiat will assume control of all Chrysler sales and service in Europe. Fiat will also begin to take responsibility for logistics and parts distribution from Chrysler’s former partner Daimler. Fiat’s financial division has already taken over financing in Europe from Daimler. A plan to integrate Chrysler’s European dealers into Fiat’s dealer network and make Fiat the sole distributor of Chrysler brands in Europe is expected in August.
As Fiat takes over, Chrysler’s European employees in Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands, England, and France will transfer over to each country’s Fiat branch. Roughly 400 employees are expected to make the switch, according to a Chrysler spokesman speaking with Automotive News. A Fiat spokesman, meanwhile, said that distribution contracts in other European countries will also be shifted to Fiat.
Of course, Fiat still has much work to do to make its partnership viable. Chrysler’s European sales fell 41.6 percent in 2009 to just 54,334 units. Fiat, meanwhile, saw sales of its brands climb 6.3 percent to 1.25 million units over the same time period. All three of Chrysler’s brands combined sold roughly half as many vehicles as Fiat’s Alfa Romeo division, whose own sales have collapsed by 50 percent over the past decade.