“Radical change” is the phrase that is most relevant to Chrysler Egypt’s situation. In the last seven years, Chrysler Egypt has made huge changes, starting from its split from Mercedes Benz. This went on to relative stability as Chrysler Group Egypt, to Fiat International acquiring Chrysler Group International, and changing its name to Fiat Chrysler International.
The situation in Egypt did not change much, with no agent present in the country, but a representative office for the mother company managing the system. This covers both selling and assembling through the Arab Organization for Industrialization factory which produces the company’s different models. The company’s name is expected to change in a few months after the latest changes, to become Fiat Chrysler Automotive Egypt instead of Chrysler Group Egypt. This will come about after presenting the new Alfa and Fiat international cars in their new shape.
The Chief Executive of Chrysler Egypt, Maciej Ratynski, sat with Daily News Egypt to outline the company.
The company achieved an unexpected sales jump during 2014. What are the reasons behind this sale increase?
Who told you that this sales jump was a coincidence? This is untrue. We made a lot of studies about the Egyptian market situation, especially after the last price changes, and the Egyptian market and customer’s needs. Through this study, we were able to offer the best product with the lowest price, and this is what happened when we offered the Grand Cherokee, which gained admiration from clients, in addition to the Jeep Wrangler model. We achieved sales of about 3,000 cars, and this sales number cannot be a coincidence.
Is the company’s sale of your Wrangler cars to the security sector behind the increase in sales? And did the merger of Fiat impact the sales increase dramatically?
Of course the government had a direct effect on the sales increase of this category of cars, Wrangler, with its special character, but it wasn’t the only factor, and that is clear in the streets as currently the car most requested by consumers is the Grand Cherokee, which has achieved the challenging balance between power, luxury and outstanding performance on the one hand and a very appropriate price on the other. As for Fiat sales, it did not have much of an effect on us because actually Fiat merger in Egypt was by Q4 of 2014 and did not achieve strong sales to significantly affect our sales, but we expect to see its sales during 2015 but it is very difficult to judge its sales in 2014.
What is your comment on the announcement of the Grand Cherokee assembly in Egypt, the negative impact it might have on sales, and the low success of your low engine car products locally?
This is the balance no one expected. Yes, it was my idea to assemble the Grand Cherokee in Egypt, and in fact, it had a direct impact on the company’s sales in the opposite direction, as it achieved the balance customers demanded, and thus achieved success, increased the company’s sales, and became the winning car. As for the low engine cars, it is true it did not achieve its goals, not because the car is defected or weak but quite the contrary; the Dodge Dart vehicle that we introduced enjoys the same privileges of the luxury cars, but it was introduced within a price bracket that wasn’t acceptable to the Egyptian customer who is used to certain brands in that price bracket, and does not accept change, and that is what happened to this car, but we will introduce something new soon, and it’s going to be a surprise.
What is the company’s stance on the increased prices of prompt delivery, especially for Grand Cherokee which, for the first time, exceeded EGP 60,000 on prompt delivery?
In fact, we as Chrysler are not happy with what’s going on in the local car market. We wish the customers get their cars for the advertised price. This is something we cannot control; we announce our prices right away, and our authorised distributors sell the cars for the advertised price, and we have four authorised distributors who sell and reserve the cars for the advertised price, but what happens at the distributors’ is that some traders receive their allocated cars from the distributors and raise the price as a pretext of prompt delivery, others reserve cars, and upon delivering them they sell them for a higher price for the purpose of the rapid gain and this is something we cannot control, after all they are subject to supply and demand.
Is it possible at this time to increase production scale to meet the increasing customer needs?
It is very difficult at the moment to raise production scale; the mother company and we put quality before quantity, which makes us very keen on the quality of the numbers we produce.
What is the company’s plan for next year, especially with Fiat merger?
Many changes will take place during this year and 2016, the most prominent of which is offering a multitude of new models, and giving due attention to the distributors’ network. We will also give direct attention to offering the best service to our customers from Fiat, Alfa, and Jeep. We also seek to overcome the earlier negative impression on Fiat and Alfa models, and we hope to achieve that as soon as possible.