GENEVA - What has been known as Chrysler Europe is evolving into a regional brand center to support the Chrysler and Jeep brands in markets around the world, excluding North and South America.
The name will change soon to reflect its new mission, said Thomas Marinelli, Chrysler Europe president.
Chrysler Europe will provide support to the scores of country managers that will be responsible for Chrysler business around the world.
Country managers will be appointed as each legal entity, such as DaimlerChrysler France, is formed.
'It would be awkward for me at this stage of our evolution to have all those country managers, 50 or whatever it is, calling Auburn Hills (Michigan) with an issue,' said James Holden, executive vice president of North American sales and marketing and a DaimlerChrysler management board member.
'Those issues have got to be sorted and centralized.'
That is where Marinelli comes in. He will be the conduit to Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills if a brand issue cannot be resolved on a European or Asian basis, Holden said.
Chrysler Europe will remain in Brussels, Belgium, but will adopt a new name within 30 to 60 days, Holden said.
Marinelli will report to Holden on product and brand issues. On business plan issues, he will report to Dieter Zetsche, a DaimlerChrysler board of management member in Stuttgart in charge of Mercedes sales and marketing.
Business plan issues could involve distribution, inventory forecasting and marketing budgets.
'We talk to Holden on Chrysler brand strategy in general and product requirements,' Marinelli said. 'Zetsche, he grows the business here. Auburn Hills is responsible for supplying those products.'
Marinelli joined Chrysler Europe as president in June 1998. It has 110 employees.
Marinelli had been working in Auburn Hills as one of two Chrysler general sales and service managers working with the 25 zone field offices in the United States.