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Chrysler hopes for Jeep Grand Cherokee to improve sales in Japan

Starting March 12, Japanese SUV shoppers will have their first chance to buy the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and when the popular ute hits Japan’s shores, Chrysler is hoping that it will be popular enough to boost company sales in that region by 21%.


Chrysler was once a far more popular choice in the Japanese market but over the past decade, they have progressively fallen from grace with Japan’s consumers. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has helped the Trail Rated automaker improve their position in the US market and Japan is the Grand Cherokee’s next target, with the company expecting sales of the flagship SUV to range between 500 and 1000 units in the 2011 calendar year. That doesn’t seem like much considering the kind of sales numbers the big Jeep sees in the US but when you look at the fact that Jeep sold just 88 Grand Cherokees in 2009 and Chrysler moved only 2,350 vehicles all of last year – 500-1000 2011 Grand Cherokees sold seems like a much larger task.

While most American’s associate the Japanese automotive market as being one that would avoid sport utility vehicles, Jeep is actually Chrysler’s bestselling brand in Japan; lead most recently by the Patriot with 760 units sold. This accounted for over 32% Chrysler’s total sales and based on the popularity of the smaller Jeep, the folks under the Pentastar are hoping that the more luxurious and capable Jeep Grand Cherokee will ride the wave of success from the Patriot en route to helping Chrysler hit 3,000 units sold in 2011.

One key factor preventing Chrysler from doing better in the Japanese market is likely the lack of available products.
Currently, the pre-2011 Chrysler 300C and Dodge Nitro are the only two models from those brands and while the Chrysler Group has benefited in the US from a huge spread of new models, Japanese dealerships will be waiting until late 2011 or early 2012 to get their hands on the refreshed Chrysler 300C and possibly the new Chrysler 200. With so few of the Chrysler Group’s top US sellers offered in Japan, it is no wonder that the smallest of the Detroit Big 3 doesn’t have a stronger presence in the Japanese auto industry but in the automaker’s eyes, the growth of Chrysler begins with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Source: The Automotive News

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