GENEVA - Chrysler is considering exporting its Dodge Viper, the V-10 engine sports car, to establish the Dodge brand in Europe, said Jim Schroer, head of marketing and advertising with DaimlerChrysler AG's U.S. arm.
Schroer told Reuters in an interview at the Geneva auto show that Chrysler would decide by the end of the year whether to launch the Dodge brand and the Viper in Europe.
"There is a lot of energy behind bringing the Dodge Viper over, as a Dodge, not as a Chrysler," he said. Chrysler also is considering the Dodge M80 compact pickup, a concept shown at the Detroit auto show last year, as one of several Dodge vehicles that could be part of a broad line-up of vehicles for Europe, he said.
"We're going to make that decision this year," Schroer said. "What we're not going to do is see if we can sell a few, go ahead and sell them. That's kind of the been the strategy of the past," he said. "We need a long-term sustainable profitable business case." The Dodge brand could arrive in Europe within two to three years, he said.
The Chrysler brand, a very small player in the European market, has increased its sales over the past few years with the launch of the PT Cruiser and the new Chrysler Grand Cherokee, which is sold as the Jeep Liberty in the United States. The addition of more diesel engines in Europe also has boosted sales, Schroer said.
Later this year, Chrysler will add the German-made Crossfire, a two-seat sports car, to its line-up in the United States and Europe.