* Dealers shown two Alfa Romeo models to come to U.S.
* Chrysler 100 subcompact, Chrysler 200 that looks like Dart
* Most Jeep models to take on Grand Cherokee's look
* CEO Marchionne: "We cannot afford to rest"
By Bernie Woodall
Sept 10 Chrysler Group LLC dealers came away
from a day-long company show led by CEO Sergio Marchionne in Las
Vegas on Monday confident that they will be selling a lineup of
more competitive cars and trucks over the next two years,
several dealers said.
Marchionne and chiefs of brands including those of
Chrysler's majority owner Fiat SpA, showed 66 different
cars and truck model variations to be introduced by 2014, up
from 29 shown two years ago at a similar dealer meeting in
At Orlando in 2010, Marchionne introduced the first wave of
new models since the bankruptcy that have helped lead Chrysler
to 29 consecutive months of year-on-year monthly sales gains and
a rise of the U.S. market share this year to 11.1 percent from
8.9 percent at the end of 2009.
The 66 cars and trucks shown on a two-tiered stage at the
MGM Grand on Monday represented the fulfillment of promises made
by the manufacturer in Orlando, Marchionne told representatives
of 2,600 dealerships from around the world, several dealers and
the company said. Some 2,353 of those dealerships are in the
The 178 U.S. Fiat dealers were shown two Alfa Romeo models
that will come to their showrooms and Chrysler dealers were
shown an all-new Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan that is markedly
different than the current version and looks a lot like the 2013
Dodge Dart, several dealers said.
Chrysler dealers will also have a subcompact, the Chrysler
100, dealers said.
Jeep dealers were shown a subcompact version of a crossover
vehicle and future versions of the Patriot, Compass and Liberty
that all take the more aerodynamic shape of the current Grand
Cherokee, said Chuck Eddy, a dealer from Ohio.
The company would not comment on the vehicles shown on
"Compared to the show two years ago, this was like a
lovefest," said Don Lee, president of Lee Auto Malls, which has
two Chrysler dealerships in Maine.
"Two years ago I came away with the feeling that Marchionne
had a good solid plan and that he needed to put a team in place
to implement it. Now, he's done just that," said Lee, in a
telephone interview with Reuters from Las Vegas.
In recessionary 2009, Chrysler faced liquidation before a
government-sponsored bailout and bankruptcy and elimination of
hundreds of U.S. dealerships.
Fiat and Marchionne took over management of the No.3 U.S.
automaker in June 2009, after two years of ownership by a
private equity firm left showrooms with products that were rated
near the bottom of quality ratings.
"We cannot afford to stop now," Marchionne told dealers on
Monday, according to a video provided by Chrysler. "We cannot
afford to rest. We need to stay focused and engaged."
Longtime dealer Eddy, said executives from the company's
brands, including Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram Truck, SRT, and
Fiat, were much more humble than were Chrysler executives of the
past after several-year runs of success.
"You can tell who their boss is," said Eddy, indicating that
Marchionne sets the tone. "They are not resting on their
"I can remember the days when previous management, through
the 1970s, the 1980s and 1990s, would rest on their laurels,"
said Eddy. "They would see growth and profit and they would rest
and not reload the pipeline with new products."
(Reporting By Bernie Woodall; Editing by Matt Driskill)