Current CEO/ Managing Director of Chrysler South Africa, Trent Barcroft, will also become
CEO of Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa as part of cooperation between the two related companies going forward. The announcement is the first South African corporate step in gaining synergies between the two companies which share a common global leader, Sergio Machionne, since the acquisition of a 58.5% share in Chrysler Group LLC by Fiat Group Automobiles Spa.
Barcroft will manage both companies locally in a move that will align the two organisations to reflect global operations. Current Managing Director of Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa, Oscar Rivoli, will take up a position within the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region based in Turin, Italy.
“The local moves to maximise synergies between the two companies is an important step within the global parameters of the Fiat-Chrysler deal and will benefit both companies enormously,” said Barcroft. “The operational efficiencies are a natural gain, but the additional experience and resources we will be able to share will have knock-on effects that will ultimately benefit customers.”
Barcroft has been Managing Director of Chrysler SA since 2009, having come to South Africa from running Chrysler operations in the Middle East. His career spans 30 years with the company, including numerous positions in domestic and international sales, marketing and aftersales roles. Barcroft has a long association with the South African market dating back to 1999 when he developed and installed the current dealer network and went on to manage the Chrysler Division between 2000 and 2005 under the former DaimlerChrysler organisation.
Under his leadership, Chrysler SA has frequently out-performed local market growth, the company reporting a record sales month of 1 001 cars in June. Year-to-date sales for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles are 37% ahead of the same period last year, while June sales reflect a 69% growth over June 2011.
“The Chrysler-Fiat partnership has created a very competitive global company,” says Barcroft. “All our brands complement each other well to provide customers outstanding value-for-money products in a variety of segments, be it the legendary Jeep celebrating its 70th birthday last year, or the fantastic brand and engineering heritage of Chrysler and Dodge. Fiat and Fiat Professional is brilliant at building small cars and commercial vehicles respectively. Alfa Romeo’s 102 year history brims with passionate style and innovative technology, while Abarth adds dynamic and visual excitement.”
The Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands are already increasing their dealer footprints off associations with Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge facilities which will benefit customers directly thanks to expanded sales and service representation. Further systems and best practice sharing will begin to roll-out through the two companies as they move forward with shared dealer networks, where circumstances allow. Head office operations will remain separate with some senior executive positions being combined.
“It is an incredibly exciting time for Fiat Group Automobiles and Chrysler as we combine efforts to create a truly world class motor company,” says Rivoli. “This is going to have immediate and long-lasting benefits in South Africa for all our customers, dealers and suppliers. I know that Trent will be a proud custodian of our associated brands and I look forward to seeing the business’ success from the continued involvement with the group in Italy.”