(ATTN: ADDS CEO's comments in paras 3-5)
SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA), an Italian and American multinational carmaker, said Wednesday that it expects to sell over 10,000 SUVs in South Korea this year on growing demand for the segment.
The company is "on track" to achieve this year's sales target of over 10,000 SUVs in the Korean market. It is "definitely" taking advantage of rising demand for SUV models, FCA Korea CEO Pablo Rosso told Yonhap News Agency on the sidelines of a press event.
FCA introduced a strengthened lineup of Wrangler models. It also sells the flagship Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee, the Compass and the Renegade models.
"Improvements on convenience and safety and functional upgrades have made FCA's SUV models sufficient enough to be used as a daily car. They are no longer a candidate for a choice of second car," Rosso said in a press conference.
Wrangler SUVs "still appeal to off-road maniacs but also to urban workers in their 30s and 40s, working moms juggling work and child care, middle aged couples enjoying leisure life, retired seniors starting new chapters of their lives and more," the CEO said.
FCA Korea stopped selling non-SUV passenger vehicles in Asia's fourth-biggest economy in January 2018 as part of its reorganization of portfolios.
For the whole of 2018, FCA Korea sold 7,590 SUVs in Asia's fourth-biggest economy, up 8.2 percent from 7,012 units a year earlier. The 2017 figure jumped from 5,070 in the previous year, according to the company's sales data.
The company expects the Korean SUV market will grow over 20 percent to reach 97,000 units this year.
In 2019, FCA looks forward to double-digit growth here as it has a revamped lineup and has launched aggressive marketing.
To further boost sales, the company has recently strengthened its SUV lineup by adding the diesel-powered Cherokee model, the two-door Wrangler short body model and the upgraded Renegade model.
The FCA is controlled by Exor N.V., an Italian holding company based in the Netherlands.
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