Starting October 1st this year, Chrysler Rus will take over the logistic operations for Alfa Romeo distribution in Russia, as the Italian brand makes its fourth attempt to penetrate the market. Chrysler Rus, which is currently responsible for the distribution of Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep and Dodge, will handle vehicle logistics and spare parts distribution.
Experts have blamed errors in marketing, logistics and service organisation for Alfa Romeo’s previous failures to gain popularity in Russia. The expectation this time around, however, is that Chrysler Rus already has experience promoting sales and serving customers in the country.
“Advantages of logistics by the developed dealer network are obvious: it can be achieved by a synergy of all the imported brands both in car sales and in servicing them”, a spokesperson for Chrysler Rus told Automotive Logistics.
The spokesperson pointed to the importance of prompt service parts delivery, and pointed out that owners of Alfa Romeo will be eligible for be a premium service for breakdowns, which has been recently launched for Jeep.
The spokesperson said that Chrysler Rus would emphasise quality of service and spare parts logistics rather than attempting to ramp up sales too quickly. Previously Alfa Romeo aimed the level of sales of 2,000 cars per year, but during 2006-2009 it sold only 1,287. In 2012 the level of sales dropped to 46 cars.
Chrysler Rus currently has 33 dealers. By early October, it plans to choose three to five dealers of “premium class” to train for the sale of Alfa Romeo cars, the company said.
However, experts doubt that the carmaker will be able to overcome the mistakes of the past years even under a skilled distributor company and well-tested logistic schemes. Frequent breakdowns, bad service and poor spare parts service made the brand unpopular, according to Oleg Datskiv, head of the on-line automobile trade platform Auto-Dealer.
“To promote the brand it will require a significant investment, but given the weak sales in the past few years, not every dealer will be willing to invest” added Datskiv. “Alfa Romeo dealers will need to invest not only in the showroom, but also in very strong marketing since these cars are not very recognisable in Russia.”