Well-known car brands that have been in Australia for decades could be pulling out with sales for some models in the single digits and halving in just a year.
The likes of Chrysler, Citroen and Alfa Romeo now have a common owner, Stellantis, and may disappear if the company elects to trim costs by ending unprofitable exports to relatively small markets like Australia.
Just 16 Chryslers were sold in February – half the 33 monthly tally of a year earlier.
Those sales were all the 300C, an American-designed muscle machine.
The V8 300 SRT is no longer on sale, with Chrysler announcing in January it would discontinue the model, occasionally seen as a police highway patrol car.
Chrysler was once a leading brand in Australia, when it locally manufactured the large Valiant, including a Charger coupe, from 1964 to 1981 to take on Ford and Holden.
That was during an era when Australian-made cars made up entire police fleets.
Well-known car brands that have been in Australia for decades could be pulling out with sales for some models in the single digits and halving in just a year. Just 16 Chryslers were sold in February – half the 33 tally of a year earlier. They were all the 300C (pictured) and V8 300 SRT sedan
Citroen C5 Aircross: 1 sold
Citroen C3 hatch: 5 sold
Chrysler 300C, 300 SRT: 16 sold
Alfa Romeo Giulietta: 8 sold
Alfa Romeo Stelvio: 5 sold
Peugeot 308: 4 sold
Peugeot 508: 5 sold
Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries sales data for February 2021
Motoring expert Toby Hagon, the editor of EV Central, said the new Dutch-headquartered Stellantis conglomerate would be reviewing the future of its slow-selling brands in Australia, with Chrysler in particular danger.
‘Chrysler’s another one that we’re expecting to pretty much be killed off,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Chrysler is a brand, they don’t really sell much.
‘Chrysler’s probably looking a bit dangerous.’
Alfa Romeo, an Italian brand synonymous with beautiful sports cars like the Spider, last month managed just 31 sales, less than half the volume of February 2020.
The Giulietta hatchback notched up just eight monthly sales, half the 16 sold a year earlier.
Buyers shunned the decade-old design and production finished in late 2020.
The sales decline for the Stelvio SUV was even more dramatic, falling to just five from 28.
‘Alfa Romeo just doesn’t have the presence that they’d like, they don’t have the depth within their brands,’ Mr Hagon said.
Chrysler 300C sedans are a regular sight in the New South Wales highway patrol fleet
‘That’s a brand that is under a fair bit of pressure at the moment.
‘Alfa Romeo needs to do more than what they’re doing now if they want to survive long-term as a brand.
‘They’ve effectively got two models and really, a car company needs more than that.’
French car maker Citroen managed a paltry six monthly sales, a quarter of the 24 sold a year earlier.
The small C3 hatchback made up five of those sales with the other Citroen sold being a C5 Aircross SUV.
This was far from the only slow-selling French brand, also owned by Stellantis, with just four Peugeot 308 hatches sold in February, down from 16 a year earlier.
Alfa Romeo, an Italian brand synonymous with beautiful sports cars like the Spider, last month managed just 31 sales, less than half the volume of February 2020. The sales decline for the Stelvio SUV (pictured) was even more dramatic, falling to just five from 28
The sales figures were already dismal before the Covid shutdowns of a year ago caused global supply shortages and hampered production.
Chrysler, Alfa-Romeo, Citroen and Peugeot are also all part of the Stellantis, formed in January 2021.
This new car conglomerate merged the already-merged Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automotives, which owned Alfa Romeo, Jeep and RAM, and the French Groupe PSA, which owned Peugeot, Citroen and General Motors’s former European brands Opel and Vauxhall.
Mr Hagon said Stellantis would be ‘consolidating the complexity in their current product lineup’ and review export markets like Australia in coming years.
French car maker Citroen managed a paltry six monthly sales, a quarter of the 24 sold a year earlier. The small C3 hatchback made up five of those sales with the other Citroen sold a C5 Aircross, an SUV
‘Everything will be evaluated,’ he said.
‘They’ll certainly evaluate all their brands. Which of these brands make sense to hold on to and which we invest heavily in and which ones may not.’
Another car giant, General Motors, has killed off the Holden brand, even though it had been on Australian roads since 1948.
The last brand new Commodore was sold in December, three years after the last Australian-made one rolled off the production line in Adelaide.