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ME closest market to US: Rodencal.

Summary: DUBAI -- John V. Rodencal (Jack), who joined the Chrysler Group Middle East team as Managing Director in January 2010, has the automobile industry in his DNA. 49 year-old Jack was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA where both his grandfather and father were owners of the Dodge dealership.

DUBAI -- John V. Rodencal (Jack), who joined the Chrysler Group Middle East team as Managing Director in January 2010, has the automobile industry in his DNA. 49 year-old Jack was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA where both his grandfather and father were owners of the Dodge dealership.

Jack joined Chrysler in January 1985 and over the last 26 years has held a variety of positions within the company - in the initial phase of his career he spent 12 years in the USA, involved in sales and service. In his role as Managing Director of Chrysler Group Middle East, he has responsibility for one of the most important markets outside the USA he says.

"The Middle East has its own unique challenges, but I believe it is the closest market to the United Sates," Jack began. "The customer demands are very similar, which is why we as an American brand can deliver exactly
what people want." The similarities in demands, Jack intoned, were as a result of both countries' love of bigger cars. In the UAE this stems from the population generally preferring to have large families. In the US distances are so vast and journeys at times so arduous that space is essential for a comfortable trip. Both countries also enjoy relatively inexpensive fuel charges, which means a premium vehicle and subsequent high capacity engine is a viable option.

That is not to say that Chrysler only build cars for American citizens' specifications and, as a stroke of luck, are able to ship them unmodified over the UAE as Jack explained.

"We have had to adapt and since our break with Daimler and new partnership with Fiat we have undergone phenomenal change.

"This has centered on listening to customer feedback from all over the world and developing cars that fit the criteria. In the UAE alone, in July, we brought some of the development team from a scheme we call the 'Voice of the Customer' to interview 15 people per day in our service departments for two weeks. The data collected went straight back to our designers in America and is being implemented."

Jack added that since the association with Fiat came about times have been very exciting. He told us that there is a renewed enthusiasm about the actual making of cars. "Our business is building automobiles and Fiat is all about handing power to designers and car makers." In the UAE volume sales have increased 25 per cent year on year, which is an impressive growth rate for this region. The outlook for the motor industry as a whole, he said, was cautiously optimistic.

Yet, with the range of models on display at the Motor Show including the Chrysler 300 C, the Dodge Challenger STR8 and the Dodge Charger R/T, how much caution that is absolutely necessary remains to be seen. The stand attracted a lot of attention during the first day of the event, reflecting Chrysler's impressive hold in the region.

business@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Nov 10, 2011
Words:564
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