Is Chrysler finally making money in Europe?
Yes, we are. Our plan was to return to profitability in 2003 and we accomplished that. We are also profitable this year.
How much of this profitability is due to the weak dollar?
Our plan was to be profitable with a much higher dollar/euro rate, a little over $1.10 per euro. The weakening of the dollar came on top of our plan, offering additional profits.
Chrysler is always "about to grow" in Europe. What is your latest target?
We have 0.7 percent market share now, we plan to reach 1.0 percent by 2007 and 1.4 percent by 2009, mainly thanks to new product introductions.
About 30 percent of your current European sales are models built in Europe -- the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chrysler Voyager at Magna Steyr in Austria. Will the next generations be built in Europe?
We have already decided to source the next Grand Cherokee for Europe in Graz.
A decision on the next Voyager has not been taken yet, but with the current dollar/euro rate, it could make more sense to concentrate production in North America.
Will Chrysler's new lower-medium Neon replacement and upper-medium Sebring replacement that arrive in Europe starting in 2006 keep their Dodge badge or will there be Chrysler-badged derivatives?
They will be Dodge here.
In the past there was brand confusion when Dodge vehicles rebadged as Chryslers were on sale alongside Dodge imports that had their original badge.
That was a big mistake we will never repeat again.
They will have to walk over my dead body before rebadging a Dodge into a Chrysler for Europe. The new Viper will also be a Dodge in Europe.
Europe continues to receive Dodge pick-ups, mainly Dakotas and Rams, as gray market imports. Any plans to officially import a pickup?
None at the moment.
Press reports say the target for Europe for the Chrysler 300C sedan and Touring is 20,000 units a year. Is that too optimistic?
I'm not familiar with that number. Our original plan was to sell 10,000 units a year. If the market asks us to double such a product allocation, I doubt we will say 'no thanks.'