Owners of the Jeep car franchise are looking for a new dealer to sell the vehicles in Kenya after disagreeing with its long-time partner DT Dobie over strategy.
Italian-American multinational Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had approached DT Dobie to also start selling its other brands, including Fiat trucks and vans.
DT Dobie declined the offer, arguing that Fiat vehicles are not popular in the local market. The dealer was also afraid that taking on Fiat vehicles would have cost it the Volkswagen franchise which it had just acquired from rival CMC Holdings.
Sources familiar with the matter told Business Daily the parties later reached an agreement where DT Dobie will continue to sell Jeep spare parts and service the cars as FCA shopped around for a new dealer.
“FCA has been searching for a new partner in the Kenyan market,” one of the sources said.
“There have been talks with other interested parties but there has been no conclusive agreement.”
Data from the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) shows that DT Dobie last sold a Jeep model (Dodge wagon) in July as it clears the stocks.
Sales of Jeep cars hit highs of 100 units in 2014 and have been declining steadily since then, according to the KMI statistics. Only three units were sold last year.
The Jeep models that DT Dobie used to sell include Dodge, Grand Cherokee and Renegade.
Motorists who want to buy the latest Jeep models have to make the purchase from overseas markets.
DT Dobie has been selling Jeep cars for decades and the business proposal it declined came after changes at the franchise owner, Chrysler Group.
Italian automaker Fiat completed its acquisition of Chrysler in January 2014, with the deal paving the way for the emergence of the combined FCA Group. The unified business, whose brands include Alfa Romeo, RAM and Fiat, wanted DT Dobie to add its expanded product range to the Jeep cars it was already selling.
It remains to be seen if FCA will get an existing motor vehicle dealer to sell its portfolio of brands.
Other carmakers have opted to appoint new entrants after failing to secure a partnership with existing players.