MILAN (AP) -- Fiat and Chrysler, which joined in an alliance last year, have taken another step toward tighter integration.
Fiat Group Automobiles SpA said Monday that it will handle the sales and servicing of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brand vehicles in several European countries beginning in April. Fiat will also gradually replace Daimler in performing support services.
Fiat said that the Chrysler sales employees in Europe will be transferred to Fiat Group Auto's sales companies.
FGA Capital has already taken over financing services for Chrysler's activities in Europe.
Fiat took a controlling 20-percent stake in Chrysler Group LLC last June, as the U.S. automaker emerged from bankruptcy, in exchange for small car technology and management leadership. Fiat's engine technology and new Compact auto platform are bound for Chrysler under the deal, and Fiat is set to launch its iconic 500 city car in the United States by the end of the year, followed by the Alfa Romeo brand with a yet-to-be-announced model.
While Chrysler's Grand Voyager minivan has been popular in Europe, the U.S. automaker sold just 54,300 cars in Europe last year, down 42 percent from 2008 when it sold 93,000.