Stellantis has two very different American brands in Australia, and they’re seeing very different fortunes in 2021.
On the one hand there’s Jeep, which is gearing up to welcome a glut of new cars Down Under, and hasn’t been crippled by the industry-wide supply constraints caused by semiconductor shortages.
Local boss Kevin Flynn says Jeep has “done well” to manage its stock levels so far.
“We’ve reduced the number of options and variations across the whole of our range,” Mr Flynn said, “and we’ve done that deliberately as we decided it was better for us, and easier for our customers and dealers.”
It’s not all plain sailing, however. Mr Flynn conceded “worldwide production issues are holding us back a little”.
“We don’t think we have ever had such a low level of stock in this country,” he said.
Having launched the new Wrangler in 2019 and the Gladiator ute in 2020, the brand is currently launching the more upmarket (and more expensive) Compass SUV, and is gearing up for the arrival of the Grand Cherokee L seven-seater.
The five-seat Grand Cherokee will follow at some point.
The Compass Launch Edition and S-Limited are already arriving at dealers, while the 80th Anniversary Edition will follow in September.
The range-topping Trailhawk and one-from-base Limited will touch down before the end of 2021.
The future isn’t quite so rosy for Jeep’s cousin, Chrysler, which only sells one car in Australia.
With Holden and Ford both gone, the Chrysler 300 SRT is the only rear-wheel drive V8 sedan on sale in Australia priced below $100,000 – but it’s now sold almost exclusively to police forces as a Highway Patrol car.
Chrysler still lists two models for sale in Australia; the V6 300C Luxury and the V8 300 SRT.
Mr Flynn said “the numbers have dropped and the production availability has also been difficult for us” about the 300.
It leaves Chrysler facing an uncertain future. Is it worth keeping Chrysler alive to sell limited numbers of an ageing product, which competes in a shrinking segment?
“We will work with the broader corporation to understand what happens from here,” said Mr Flynn.
Chrysler has sold fewer than 100 cars to date in 2021.