Jeep and Chrysler could soon be better suited for Australian conditions and taste as they might benefit from local testing and development.
Models of next generation such as Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 would all be tested and tuned locally as part to push a growth in sales and suitability.
Lucy McLellan, Chrysler Australia corporate communications director said they had spoken to global product boss Steve Bartoli about “tuning vehicles for Australian standards and Australian roads”.
“So they’ll look at bringing out an engineering team to make sure it works that way,” said McLellan.
Other car manufacturers have long tuned cars for Australian conditions and plan to continue that moving forward. Holden reversed a decision to shut its expansive Victorian proving ground, near Lang Lang, partly to continue local development programs it sees as part of the brand’s DNA.
More recently Hyundai and Kia have begun tailoring steering and suspension systems to Australian roads and tastes, with each suggesting it’s a crucial part of growing sales and acceptance.
FCA product strategy boss Alan Swanson confirmed Australia had a loud voice within the brand’s US headquarters off the back of strong sales, particularly for the SUV-focused Jeep brand.
He listed steering, suspension, trim levels and standard features as areas that could be developed or tweaked for Australian consumption.
“It’s such a competitive market. Jeep are proud of their tradition and we fully realise you can’t stand still, and if that means doing things in a more focused way compared to having some single products to service the whole world.
“We work very closely with the team who look after the Asia-Pacific region but also we have access to anyone we want to … it’s a very open and global mindset.”
Jeep has previously created interiors inspired by places such as Morocco, Nepal, the Grand Canyon and even New Zealand. An example is the revised Chrysler 300 SRT that goes on sale this week – complete with a 350kW 6.4-litre V8 – was produced primarily for the Australian market.