Fiat and Chrysler are integrating their parts and aftermarket services under the Mopar brand, originally a Chrysler service, parts and customer care division that is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
The globalisation of the Mopar brand begins today (Wednesday) and is being marked with the release of a new packaging design at the division’s engineering facility in Center Line, Michigan.
According to Mopar’s president and CEO, Pietro Gorlier (pictured), the integration is aimed at delivering better customer service. Combining these services will ensure a flawless circulation of aftermarket and service parts across the joint organisation, he told Automotive Logistics, adding that it will take out inefficiencies arising from the need to repackage parts or double-handle material according to individual brands.
“Mopar has always been an innovator in the US in the way in which parts are distributed together. As a consequence the brand has been picked up as an umbrella organisation for the aftersales business of the Fiat-Chrysler enterprise,” he said.
The new design for packaging the parts incorporates the Mopar logo together with the ten logos of the two automakers: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional (LCVs), Jeep, Lancia, SRT and RAM. Distribution will begin in the second half of this year. Fiat and Chrysler have 50 distribution centres between them handling 350,000 order lines on daily basis.
The move marks the latest stage in the strategic alliance of the two companies signed in June 2009.
“The simple reason behind the integration of the aftersales operations is that Chrysler and Fiat are going to share platforms, components and systems, and as a concept that also has to integrate the aftersales part of the business,” Gorlier said.
Earlier this month Mopar opened distribution centres in Shanghai, China and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to support both Chrysler and Fiat marques. The centres were opened to facilitate Mopar’s expansion plans in Asia and the Middle East (read more here). Such an integrated expansion in newer markets demonstrates the potential for savings as the brands combine aftermarket service.
While the potential for such savings might be lower in Chrysler’s main markets in North America, where Fiat has only recently re-entered the market with the Fiat 500 produced by Chrysler in Mexico, Mopar has already said that Fiat and Chrysler are trying to leverage their relationship. George Campbell, Mopar’s senior manager for process reliability, said at last autumn’s Automotive Logistics Global Conference in Detroit that sharing aftermarket distribution services across the industry can save considerable money, particularly given rising fuel costs. Campbell said that a 10-cent increase in diesel translate into $2m in extra costs annually for Chrysler (read more here).
During the downturn, Chrysler focused on its aftermarket business Mopar to generate revenue as it waited for automotive sales to improve. It integrated Fiat Group’s logistics system to make improvements and eliminate waste. The US carmaker said at the time that it wanted Mopar to be more profitable and build a reputation for quality components and service that involved better logistics to ship and stock parts (read more here). 
Chrysler reported fourth quarter profits today of $424m, compared to a $199m loss in the same quarter of 2010. It posted a net income of $183m in 2011 for its first profit since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009.