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?