Service techs return to FCA stores; lineup keeps Dart, 200

LAS VEGAS — Fiat Chrysler dealers who lost trained service technicians to the oil and gas boom in the U.S. a few years ago are starting to see them return.

But even with those additions, dealers need to add service personnel, FCA dealers were told at their make meeting during the NADA convention.

Mopar head Pietro Gorlier told dealers that the domestic oil and gas slowdown is helping them recruit service personnel.

“Many of our dealers lost service technicians to the oil and gas industry, but now we are starting to see them come back,” Gorlier said after the meeting.

In 2015, Mopar began an effort to help dealers add more than 5,000 service technicians nationwide by 2018. Since the effort began, a net of more than 2,500 technicians have been added, Gorlier said.

FCA dealers also got their first in-person look at the automaker’s plans to build more SUVs and pickups and heard that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart will change but won’t be going away.

Reid Bigland, head of North American sales, explained the company’s planned production shifts, dealers said afterward.

The automaker plans to expand its Ram and Jeep lineups, including a new pickup based on the Jeep Wrangler and a new family of luxury SUVs that will carry the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer names.

To make room for those products within its production footprint, FCA is searching for partners to build the next-generation 200 and Dart sedans.

Said Don Lee, president of Lee Auto Malls, which operates two Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram stores in Maine, “We were told that those [sedans] aren’t going away, but that they’ll be built by someone else.”

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