By on February 3, 2009

Well, you knew it was going be ugly. This one’s Medusa class. January sales fell 54.8 percent vs. last January, from 137,392 to 62,157 vehicles. Breaking that into bits, car sales sank 66 percent (15,747) while trucks tumbled 49 percent to (46,410). Chrysler fingered two culprits. First up, fleet sales. Believe it or not, the company claimed credit for the 81 percent fall from their “normal” fleet sales total. Apparently, the drop “aligned with the Company’s sales strategy helping to maintain or improve the overall residual value of Chrysler vehicles for our customers.” Second, tight credit.

“Chrysler LLC received the first $4 billion installment of our $7 billion bridge loan from the U.S. Treasury in early January,” said Jim Press, President and Vice Chairman – Chrysler LLC. “However, it wasn’t until later in the month that Chrysler Financial received its $1.5 billion loan, greatly enhancing its ability to support our dealers and provide credit to our customers. We were very encouraged and working closely with Chrysler Financial, were immediately able to introduce our zero percent financing for customers.”

While there’s no question that the credit market has had a devastating impact on new car sales, it’s also true that people aren’t buying Jack. And, most importantly for the taxpayer suckling car company that’s paying rent to the company that owns its Auburn Hills HQ (same company, but who’s counting?), in the Land of Sales Suckage, Chrysler is King. And yet, ChryCo still refuses to accept any responsibility for the current carnage.

“Consumer credit, versus consumer demand, influenced our January retail results. We saw a negative trend in December, we’re seeing it again this month and we could see it for the year. Many more consumers wanted to buy a vehicle than could qualify for financing under the current credit conditions,” said Steven Landry, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, MOPAR Parts and Service. “But, even though the economic environment remains extraordinarily difficult, near the end of the month we began to gain some sales traction with zero percent financing available through Chrysler Financial, and the addition of our new Chrysler Employee Pricing Plus Plus incentive.”

Truth be told, Chrysler could offer Employee Pricing Plus Plus Plus Plus Plus, and they’d still be dead in the water. I’m sorry for the American car industry, but it’s time for these people to find some other way to make a living. And if we’re paying, do we get to choose?

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48 Comments on “Chrysler January Sales Down 54.8%...”


  • avatar
    BDB

    How long until they offer Employee Pricing Squared?

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    HAHA WOW, Well my future Rubicon is only getting cheaper…

    It’s interesting because several of the salesman I have talked to have admitted this isn’t really employee pricing because in fall of last year they were able to get well equipped Rubis for a hinted at 21-22K or so verses the Employee++ price of about 25K currently.

    Yea lets see the Employee Pricing to the power of 4 please!

  • avatar
    BDB

    Spitfire–

    I’m also really, really tempted to get a Rubicon.

  • avatar
    billc83

    Two Challengers for the price of one just might get me to buy.

    Knowing Chrysler, they’d screw up any BOGO offer by forcing a free PT Cruiser or Sebring. No dice.

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    Being down 55% really sucks, but conversely I am quite amazed that they sold 62,000 !!

  • avatar
    BDB

    “Knowing Chrysler, they’d screw up any BOGO offer by forcing a free PT Cruiser or Sebring. No dice.”

    Or, buy any Jeep and get a free Compass! Ugh.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The face of Bailout Motors is indeed hideous. Without fleet sales, Chrysler’s car numbers look a lot like Pontiac’s.

    Wrangler was up 4% over last year. Go figure.

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    BDB-

    Heck, we are already paying for them! We might as well take advantage of the government subsidizing while its still around.

    Once Chrysler folds the decent Jeep products won’t be made for some time while they change ownership(I would think at least). And the new owners will unlikely be able to offer these deals.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    If taxpayers are forced to keep this company alive past March there will be serious political consequences.

    Chrysler’s tight credit whining basically amounts to “Everyone, no matter what, that wants to buy a new Chrysler should be able to qualify for a loan.”

    Counting everyone that wants a car but cannot afford it, like Chrysler seems to think is legitimate, would help Chrysler a little.

    However, that same optimistic accounting would make Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti the largest volume sellers in the world.

    If the government bailing out your financing arm to the extent that you can offer 0% financing to anyone with a pulse isn’t enough to prevent sales from cratering 55% then he (the customer) is just not that into you.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Check my numbers here.

    Chrysler is on pace to sell about 700K cars this year. They are getting ‘loans’ of $7B from the Federal Government. Doesn’t that mean they are getting a $10,000 subsidy for every vehicle sold?

    Doesn’t that mean that PT Cruisers should be selling for $199? Not a month, total.

  • avatar
    BDB

    “Once Chrysler folds the decent Jeep products won’t be made for some time while they change ownership(I would think at least).”

    Yeah, the big question for me isn’t whether Jeep while survive post-Chrysler, but who will take it from ChryCo’s corpse?

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    SherbornSean-

    Agreed, there was a post here at TTAC recently talking about that I believe.

    no_slushbox-

    I have great credit and I would barely qualify since many of the 0 percent offers are for A+ credit only. Even now the 0 percent for Wranglers is “only” up to 48 months. For 60 months it jumps to 5.9 percent. Although this was just what one slick dealer was saying…

    I can’t possibly see how this bailout for Chrysler will make it through March. There is clear evidence that even people who want these cars just don’t want them enough.

    I have a paid of truck that works, and not a pressing need for a 500 dollar payment a month…seems logical. Sorry Chrysler

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    BDB-

    Wasn’t the B&Bs opinion leaning towards a company in India? If ford was doing better I’d like to see them take it over but yea…about that. Do you think the Lifetime powertrain warranty would survive the transfer?

  • avatar
    BDB

    “If ford was doing better I’d like to see them take it over but yea…about that.”

    In my dream world Ford would take over, sell only SUVs under the Jeep name and keep crossovers under Ford. A Jeep Explorer would be…interesting!

    “Do you think the Lifetime powertrain warranty would survive the transfer?”

    That’s why I’m still hesitant on buying a Rubi, even with Employee Pricing++. If the price goes down again, though, I might give in even with the uncertainty. I’ve always wanted a nice Wrangler.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Who the hell bought 46,000 trucks?

    I can understand the Wrangle buys, people are getting ready for their rugged post-depression.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’m looking for a minivan. I’m wondering exactly how cheap a Caravan could be had for, and if it would ever be cheap enough.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Stick a fork in Chrysler. It’s done. Stop allowing any more of our tax dollars to be wasted on this mess. Let Cerberus solve their own problems with their own money. In fact, I want to see our first round of bailout money given to Cerberus to be returned to us taxpayers.

    I’d agree with others here, Ford may be the best solution to buy Jeep. Jeep is the only thing to be saved from the ashes of Chrysler. Of course with fewer Jeep models surviving and maybe only the Wrangler should survive.

    Now, on to the next debacle of an auto company…GM…..

  • avatar
    tedward

    Spitfire

    I used to harp on about seeing a cheap Indian diesel in a Jeep, but I’ve reconsidered. Screw the Indians, they want to own a regular car company. Lets sell Jeep to the Egyptian government (they’re the ones buying all the pickup versions correct?) on the condition that mil. spec Jeeps get sold here retail.

    Jeep (as a military vehicle) dosen’t need to parts share with sedans or SUV’s, nor will it be improved by the “good citizen” pressure that regular car companies are subjected to. We’re talking about an all-American brands whose reputation would only be enhanced by pictures of raggedy warlords firing RPG’s from the bed, or babies bouncing off the windshield. We sell Jeep to the Egyptians and we set it free. Long live the Jeep.

  • avatar
    BDB

    @gary

    “Of course with fewer Jeep models surviving and maybe only the Wrangler should survive.”

    They should go back to the simple, three model set up they used to have. Traditional SUV-Compact SUV-Large SUV.

    It used to be Wrangler-Cherokee-Grand Cherokee, now they could go Wrangler-Liberty-Grand Cherokee.

    That’d make so much more sense than the nonsensical, confusing model set up they have now.

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    Seth L-

    Yea now we just need a bunch of guns and camping equipment and we’ll be good to go! haha, I kid, I kid. Sorta, maybe.

    BDB-

    Yea I guess I’m partial to the company that is holding back on the bailout buffet. Oh its coming though… This and my 1997, 221K mile Expedition still drives well and looks good after a wash.

    Part of me almost wouldn’t care about the lifetime powertrain warranty since there is such an incredible aftermarket support for the wranglers and the relative simple nature of them allows most people to fix them. But how sweet would it be to be able to put 300k miles on a Wrangler, assuming your kidneys can survive the harsh ride that long, and not have to worry about anything in the engine, transfer case, tranny, or axles?!? “Yea, lets make that happen.”- Stewie

  • avatar
    tedward

    my apologies in advance for being a blood-thirsty and callous prick.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    psarhjinian,
    Consider a used Caravan. Craigs List is crawling with them at good prices. They hold up better than you might think.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Whoah, Honda outsold Chrysler (Honda sales down “just” 28% Y/Y to 71,000 vehicles.

  • avatar
    geeber

    This looks like Studebaker-Packard in 1955-57.

    Maybe Chrysler should lop the ends off of the Charger and call it the Lark. That bought Studebaker-Packard a few more years…

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Spitfire:

    The Chrsyler Financial website does not list an official FICO cutoff, but in this industry article Jim Press seems to indicate that a 620 is enough. That is a solid C, not an A+. Actually that’s below the average FICO of about 680, so it might not even be a C.

    https://www.autoloandaily.com/loan-news/auto-loan-daily/auto-loan-rates/1272-chrysler-offers-0-financing-on-11-vehicles

    And I just noticed this. The Chrysler Financial homepage pisses in all our faces with, in big letters, “We’ve Got $1.5 Billion to Finance Vehicles.” At least they admit where it came from.

    http://www.chryslerfinancial.com/

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    Not sure who just posted then edited it out but I agree that the whole jobs debate is completely insane. Heck we could pay the mortgages and feed them with that money instead of just shaping and shuffling metal around right? Why should one company’s workers be subject to this protection and not others? I’ll argue its actually the worst possible move for American since it actually removes the advantages of fast paced capitalism and puts in place the ever slower gov’t.

    BDB-

    Yea I agree, the simple model lineup would work best. But the value of brands including Jeep and the ooooh goodie I bet we could increase market share of this that and the other by expanding our lineup without a thought to cannibalizing other same company sales. This is apparently far too tempting for the decision makers.

    geeber-

    Brilliant! haha

    tedward-

    Blood thirsty indeed. I like the idea of bringing a more back to basics Mili-spec Jeep over here. I’d argue that Toyota doesn’t receive flack for their small and everlasting trucks being used by rebels in war zones. Its all about removing yourself from the scene of the crime and promoting personal responsibility. Think beer and alcohol companies ads.

    no_slushbox-

    I’m just telling you what I have seen personally when talking to the dealer in his office. I had also read the news(heck they advertise the heck out of it) and was thinking 60 months 0%..but no dice. I understand the scores and such but salesman will tell you 700 and up is what will qualify you for the good stuff. I promise you they wish it was 480.
    The full page ads of thank you! (um, we didnt. DW did) and statements of 1.5B to loan are indeed a complete slap in the face.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    This means I can pick up a Grand Cherokee Laredo for my winter beater and a Challenger SRT8 for my warm weather car if I walk in the door with $5,000 cash, right?

    RIGHT?

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Geeber,
    I had the pleasure of having Gerry Myers, the ex-CEO of AMC as a professor. He said the Gremlin was created just as you described. He was on a plane in the early 70′s with the head of engineering fretting that AMC didn’t have a competitor to all the small cars being introduced (Pinto, Vega,…)at the time.

    Right there on the plane the engineer developed the Gremlin by chopping the tail off their midsized sedan.

  • avatar
    Rev Junkie

    I don’t think the Caliber was ever designed, rather born when a Durango humped a Magnum. The SRT makeover kinda made things worse.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Whoah! Car sales are at Chrysler were 1/3 of a year earlier, 34,373 for 01/08 to 10,685 in January of 09. Chyrsler as a brand is toast.

  • avatar
    Mike_H

    The next phase of “Employee Pricing”: Buy any Chryco product and we’ll give you, FREE!, a genuine Chryco employee!

    On a related matter, Subaru January sales were up. Ditto Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    Chrysler is the fat man in a sinking lifeboat. If it isn’t pushed overboard soon by GM, Ford and Congress, it’s going to take everyone else down with it.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Spitfire

    Indeed. Jeep always has been, and always should be, the 40oz. Old E of off-roaders.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    I guess all those pissed off taxpayers weren’t kidding when they wrote in to the Chrysler blog saying they’d never buy a Chysler product after the company got the bailout bucks.

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    How many of these sales were cross shopped with other brands, domestic or not? When Chrysler goes under how much would the demand shift towards Ford and GM or would it lean more in favor of Toyota and others?

    Outside of the very few previously mentioned products I just don’t know how the other inventory is sold.

    Cicero-
    Agreed. The case for Chrysler just cannot be made anymore. And GM, I’m sorry there isn’t much left in the way of sympathy for you either.

  • avatar
    NickR

    In other news, George A Romero is taking up his new post as president of Chrysler.

  • avatar
    rodster205

    So is Nardelli going to run another ad thanking Americans?

  • avatar
    billc83

    LOL @ NickR – “Night of the Living Chrysler”

    Undead Sebrings roam the land in search of bailouts – probably more frightening than true, blue zombies. Dawn of the Dead, indeed!

  • avatar
    derek81

    is chrysler even making cars anymore? or are their factories still furloughed?

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    Military Spec Jeep? You’re kidding right? No military has used Jeeps for a few decades. The US military stopped using them because Jeeps don’t carry very much and they were easily rolling over and killing our soldiers.

    The Jeep was never as practical as the WW II German air cooled Volkswagon based military vehicle which was lighter, used less fuel, and could go through sand better.

    Why in hell would anyone want to be seen riding around in something as dumb as a Jeep?

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    folkdancer-
    Who wouldnt want a Jeep with nearly 8k of towing capacity?

    I’d say Eisenhower probably didn’t mind.

  • avatar
    Spitfire

    or Obama…

  • avatar
    peoplewatching04

    I wonder how many of those trucks were ’08 or even ’07 Rams

  • avatar
    shaker

    “When there is no more room in Hell, the Calibers will drive the Earth.”

    (Written from one who knows – I had a one-second stint as a Zombie in DOD).

    The Gremlin was a Hornet that backed into an airplane propeller – as in the old joke: “Disaster”.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    The Lark was a chop front and rear of the std. size Studebaker.More like a Challenger than a Gremlin.

    The Gremlin was a rear end chop of the Hornet, AMC’s compact, not the mid size Matador. And the styling was based on an AMC show car that had been based on the Javelin.Which had been sketched on the back of an “airsick” bag.

    The Gremlin was the same car as the Hornet from the doors forward.As was the Sportabout. And the hatches.

    The Hornet also spawned the Eagles, Concords and Spirits AMC developed.

  • avatar
    menno

    “geeber said: This looks like Studebaker-Packard in 1955-57.

    Maybe Chrysler should lop the ends off of the Charger and call it the Lark. That bought Studebaker-Packard a few more years…”

    You just described the Chrysler 200e, Geeber.

    At least the crooks who lied to one another about the viability of their respective companies (i.e. Studebaker and Packard) prior to merging in 1954, didn’t go crawling to Con-gress for money to keep a private enterprise operating.

    Though admitedly, they did request special treatment in selling Duece and a Half Studebaker trucks to the Army, and did get a contract. Except that the government demanded that they use Reo engines, etc.

    That factory still builds military trucks; they are now producing Hummvees at the ex-Studebaker facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. Kaiser-Jeep bought the factory in the 1960′s then AMC bought Jeep, and when Renault bought into AMC, they had to sell the factory since a military vehicle plant could not be owned by foreigners at the time. Ironically, it outlived Studebaker, Kaiser-Jeep and AMC.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Spitfire: Thanks!

    SherbornSean: I learned to drive on a 1973 AMC Gremlin. The scary part is that, at that time, the Gremlin was probably the best all-around American subcompact.

    Interesting that you were taught by Gerry Meyers. I’ll bet that he had some interesting stories to tell. I’d love to hear how the 1974 Matador coupe and 1975 AMC Pacer ever made it to production. We thought that the Matador looked strange even then. The Pacer looked futuristic for the time, but underneath it was more of the same old stuff, chopped and butchered to fit under that short, wide body shell.

    menno: Interesting history there! I don’t know if Studebaker deliberately lied to Packard about its breakeven point. If I recall, Studebaker genuinely believed that the lower figure was accurate, which shows just how out-of-touch the corporation’s management was in the early 1950s!

  • avatar
    tedward

    folkdancer

    Spitfire already posted a link to the new Jeep military spec. in case you missed it. I’m pretty sure it’s only appropriate for very light duty tow and transport work (relative to military demands of course).

    This is purely a judgment call, so I can’t really disagree if you just don’t like the vehicle, but I really love the old and new Jeeps. They’re direct, no-nonsense, maneuvarable and come with a truly serious 4wd system. Compared to the full sized pickups that I started out with, my friends’ jeeps were always more capable and fun, allowing us to drive past the obvious mudpits and into the trees (no place for an F-250 believe me).

    The new Jeeps are huge compared to the old, but they still trump the new full sized trucks for usable performance by a huge margin. The pickup genre has devolved (imo, flame away) into a game of who can please the “precious snowflakes” (who should have bought cars in the first place) the best with overly delicate and luxurious interiors. They’ve also gotten so big I would never dare do anything off-road in one beyond cruising across an empty field. Pickups have become the American luxury car/tow vehicle at the expense of every other consideration, and we are all poorer for it. The Jeep Wrangler straightens that right out.


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