TURIN -- Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group are taking a further step toward the integration of their distribution activities in Europe.
Starting next month, Fiat will begin to take over sales and service for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brand vehicles in 11 European countries in a process that will begin in Italy and take nearly two years to complete.
Fiat will also gradually replace Chrysler's former partner, Daimler AG, in performing support services such as vehicle logistics and parts distribution. Fiat's financial arm has already replaced Daimler in providing financial services for Chrysler's European activities.
The activities and employees of the Chrysler's national sales companies in Germany, Italy, the UK, France, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland will be gradually transferred to the corresponding Fiat national sales companies over the next 18 months.
“About 400 Chrysler European employees will move over time to Fiat,” a Chrysler spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
A Fiat spokesman said that distribution contracts with Chrysler importers in other European countries will also progressively shift to Fiat, which will eventually become the sole distributor of Chrysler brands in Europe.
Fiat is expected to announce its plan to integrate Chrysler's European dealers into its own distribution network on April 21.
Last year, Chrysler Group sold 54,334 vehicles in Europe, down 41.6 percent on the year before, according to ACEA, the European automakers association. European sales of Fiat group vehicles including Fiat brand, Alfa Romeo and Lancia cars, increased by 6.3 percent to 1.25 million last year.
Fiat took a controlling 20 percent stake in Chrysler Group last June when the U.S. automaker emerged from bankruptcy.