Chrysler Will Stay Alive in Japan (Where It's Almost Dead): FCA

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
chrysler will stay alive in japan where its almost dead fca

We all remember former Chrysler Corporation chairman Lee Iacocca railing against the Japanese for their uber-expensive land and not-so-open borders. Well, Jeep sales are slowly picking up in that Detroit Three-averse country, but one storied American brand isn’t doing so hot.

Chrysler. Sure, the brand isn’t doing all that great in its home country, either, what with only two models to show for itself. Still, Japanese buyers seem particularly unimpressed with the sole model Chrysler has to offer it.

Still, even with nearly nonexistent sales, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t about to throw in the towel just yet.

According to Reuters, a rumor that FCA plans to yank the Chrysler brand out of Japan is false. The automaker has confirmed it will continue selling the Chrysler 300S and 300 SRT8 out of Jeep dealerships in the land of the rising sun, even as the sun sets on the brand.

“Although FCA Japan has already announced its intention to concentrate its resources on the Jeep brand ahead, no decisions have been made regarding (the) Chrysler brand,” FCA said in a statement Monday.

It’s hardly an encouraging statement. Certainly, not one that brings much hope to Japanese Chrysler fans, if indeed there are any. Still, wouldn’t be at all surprising if FCA were to throw all its efforts behind Jeep. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has made it clear he wants the brand to be a global powerhouse, with such products as the second-generation Compass leading the way.

In Japan, Chrysler sales have dropped every year since the turn of the century. With just two variants of a single model on sale (starting at $52,056 after a consumption tax), sales dropped below 300 units in 2016. You’re far more likely to see a Jeep or Fiat vehicle on the streets of Tokyo. Those brands accounted for about 9,400 and 6,700 units, respectively, last year.

Even though Jeep sales rose over 31 percent in Japan last year, it’s still a small drop in a large bucket. Japanese customers overwhelmingly prefer Japanese vehicles, which puts Jeep, by volume, at number 20 on the list of top-selling automakers.

American Chrysler sales have remained stagnant for the past three years. While sales of roughly 53,000 units per year are well below the amount seen in the pre-recession era, it’s still above the mid-30,000 range seen from 2009 to 2011. The brand’s U.S. sales have fallen, year-over-year, for the past three months.

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  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Jun 19, 2017

    On the last of three wishes, a man asked a genie that when woke up, he would be the owner of a dealership for a large automotive manufacturer, in a major metropolitan area. When he awoke, he was the owner of a Chrysler dealership in Tokyo.

    • SPPPP SPPPP on Jun 19, 2017

      Haha. Wow, that's something that should show up in "Kafka's Garage" (if it still existed).

  • Noble713 Noble713 on Jun 19, 2017

    The 300 is pretty much the only Chrysler product I've ever seen here. It appeals to the VIP crowd who want something different from the standard issue Toyota Crown. But I've only seen a few RHD ones. Almost all are imported LHD models. I had no idea Chrysler actually sells them here. I assumed the few RHD ones were imports from Australia.

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