CNN Money reports that Jim Press, the Toyota-poached (not yet fried) Vice Chairman of the new Chrysler Corporation, has announced that his employer is striving to reduce its fleet sales to 20 percent of total sales. While that number may seem high, it would be a major accomplishment. Fleet sales of some Chrysler models have run well over 50 percent. From January to June '07, the Magnum (61 percent), PT Cruiser (65 percent), Crossfire (71 percent) and Avenger (79 percent) easily crested that benchmark. Mind-bogglingly enough, these figures do NOT include fleet sales made through Chrysler dealers. Though Press forgot to talk about Chrysler's current fleet sales percentages, he suggested that anything above 30 percent is "not a healthy way to manage our business." Ya think? Neither CNN nor Press deigned to specify which aspect(s) of fleet sales are detrimental to the domestic automaker's business, such as lower residual values, less incentive to design cars that compete at the retail level, brand stigmatisation, etc., etc. On the flip side, Chrysler plans a modest increase in retail sales. To the scrying eye, Press is preparing the press for a [rapid and continuing] decline in Chrysler's '08 market share.
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