By on December 1, 2009

Slipping away...

Initial indications of November’s sales numbers show an industry exhibiting some signs of leveling off after a solid year of steep declines. And when the rest of the industry is merely flat, Chrysler has to satisfy itself with slightly-less-dramatic-than-usual declines. Though Chrysler’s sales [full PDF release here] were “only” down 25 percent compared to November 2008, things were hardly going well a year ago. As a result, Chrysler sold an embarrassing 63,560 units total, ending the month with a 64-day supply of vehicles despite offering some of the industry’s most generous incentives. Forget the percentages, Chrysler’s niche-like volume is the killer here… and it’s relentlessly slipping away as the Pentastarred zombie crashes into oblivion.

All brands were down for the month, with Dodge skidding 8 percent, Jeep dropping 24 percent, Chrysler tumbling 37 percent and the new Ram brand falling 38 percent.

Chrysler’s only month-on-month gainers were the Sebring (+5 percent, 3,044 units), Avenger (+51 percent, 3,571 units), Journey (+93 percent, 5,434 units) and Caravan (+35 percent, 8,171).

The big losers? There are so many to choose from. The decision to keep PT Cruiser’s rolling off the line until 2011 wasn’t well-justified last month, as PT plummeted 91 percent to 310 (no, not a typo) units. Caliber fared little better, as an 85 percent decline dropped volume to a paltry 412 units. Dakota fell to triple-digit volume levels as well, posting a 62 percent decline to 663 units. Though Ram “only” fell 35 percent, it’s status as ChryCo’s best-seller means it shed a whopping 5,751 units compared to last November, for a total volume of 9,787 units.

All in all, Chrysler continues to exhibit all the signs of freefall. Though decent sales of Journey might indicate that Chrysler’s new ad campaigns might be having some affect, it’s clear that nothing short of a biblical miracle will stop Chrysler ignominious decline. And with no new product due to hit ChryCo’s showrooms until this time next year, there’s little reason for optimism. Chrysler is a dead automaker walking.

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33 Comments on “Chrysler November Sales Plummet 25 Percent...”


  • avatar

    Again: HOW much of our tax money is going down with Chryslertanic??

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How much did we, the taxpayers, give Chrysler and Fiat?

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Looks like dealers ordered a bunch of Journeys in anticipation of the new advertising campaign.  Car sales don’t just magically jump 93% on old news in a flat market.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    I like how people still point of positives in the search for hope, but were is the cutoff? What level of performance is passing the grade for continued support. There never was any true objective just a bunch of macro talk of domestic manufacturing and hard times.
    The PT cruiser is still built…how in the nsfw nsfwing world is that even remotely a valid business decision? I remember the ad campaign for it when I was a freshman in HS…I’ve been out of college for 3 years now.
    LET THIS COMPANY DIE!

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    If they can’t move 10K Rams/month, then it’s game over.  What happens when Ford finally updates the powertrains on the F-150?

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    Ram Brand, my tank is full. Or 38 percent less then that of last year.
    I know that when the commercial repeats the full tank line twice in the 30 second spot its meant to convince the buying public of certain positive connotations through a subliminal message but at this point its just painfully funny. Painful because everyone at Chrysler are still trying so hard and being supported unwillingly by the public. Accept the already should have happened outcome and move one…please, for the good of America.

    • 0 avatar
      levi

      Ram Brand, my tank is full. Or 38 percent less then that of last year.
      I know that when the commercial repeats the full tank line twice in the 30 second spot…

      One version of that commercial repeats the line three times.  It reminds me of the lousy mileage I could expect from a full size pick-up.  Bet it does a lot of people.

      Whoever approved that ad campaign should be fired.

  • avatar
    walksatnight

    “Pentastarred zombie crashes into oblivion”   Take it easy there big fellah….   I’m paying for this stuff.

  • avatar
    mjz

    You did this last month as well. The PT Cruiser and Caliber had been out of production for months, their inventory sold out during the Clunkers sale. So, of course, there sales will be “paltry” right now, there isn’t any inventory. Duh! The 2010 PT Cruiser (Classic) has, I believe, just started up production, and the 2010 Caliber, with it’s all-new interior, will begin production shortly. If you added in last years Caliber sales, (over 2,000), Dodge car sales would have been up for the month.

    As far as the Chrysler brand is concerned, they basically have only two nameplates to sell right now. The 300 and Sebring.  Sebring was miraculously up, while the 300 (and sister Charger), dropped, probably in anticipation of the the long-awaited
    replacements. Aspen is dead and PT was already discussed.

    The RAM truck drop is a cause for concern, but even the F-150 dropped 20%.  Trucks as a whole are down, and Chrysler doesn’t have the car line-up to make up the difference right now.

    I am very disappointed that you seem to take such apparent glee that Chrysler sales are down. I live in the Detroit area, and a Chrysler bankruptcy would have absolutely  decimated an already devastated Michigan/National economy.

    Fiat inheirited this mess from Daimler/Cerebus. You can’t turn an automaker around in a couple of months. Let them get back up to full production, and give their marketing plan a chance to kick in before you so happily dance on their grave.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Puthuff

      Woulda, coulda,  shoulda doesn’t sell cars.  By what reasoning do you believe that had Chrysler not stopped production of the PT Cruiser and Caliber they would have sold more?

  • avatar
    vexner

    Chrysler is still ranked 5th in the US…ahead of Nissan.

    Chrysler increased its marketshare (8.4%).

    The RAM has had a 28% YTD decrease in sales…a smaller decrease (and increased marketshare) than most of the other full sized pickups.

    If Chrysler is a niche (volume) producer then it follows Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia are as well.

    Anyone here want to refer to Nissan or Hyundai as a niche-like volume producer?  

  • avatar
    vexner

    …or, for that matter, do we also conclude Honda is a “niche-like volume producer” considering Honda sold about the same numbers as Chrysler…and only about 10k more than Chrysler with Acura added into the totals for Honda?

    At what sales point is a manufacturer considered “niche” or mainstream?

    Are GM, Toyota and Ford only to be considered mainstream rather than “niche”?

    and why can’t I edit my posts?

  • avatar

    I saw a black Sebring today in the parking lot. To be honest it looked pretty nice. The back and front are well done, but the side view is not help by the crunched up rear windows. The art deco interior looked nice but a little cheap. In my opinion the sebring is  not much different than GM’s offerings in this class.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Vexner,
    The problem for Chrysler is that they are reliant on the US and Canada for 95% of sales.  Hyundai/Kia and Honda have more global distribution, meaning they can spread platform development costs over a larger base of revenues.
     
    One of Chrysler’s issues is that they don’t pick their spots.  They are a full line manufacturer, but don’t have economies of scale in any product, except the Ram, and even here they are fading.

    • 0 avatar
      vexner

      No doubt (worldwide), but if Chrysler is going to be refered to as a “niche-like producer” in America then it follows that, in the American marketplace, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai should also be considered such.

      The knife slice is razor sharp against Chrysler because Chrysler is being called a “niche” player in the American market while no such reference is EVER made with regards to Honda, Nissan or Hyundai.

      Honda is also reliant on the American market (but not to the degree Chrysler is).

      Let’s be fair. 

  • avatar
    John Holt

    “The company showed some encouraging signs this month, providing a good foundation going forward and reinforcing our promising future which everyone in the company is excited about,” said Fred Diaz, President and Chief Executive Officer–Ram Brand and Lead Executive for the Sales Organization, Chrysler Group LLC.
    What planet is this guy living on??  The Kool-Aid floweth freely in Auburn Hills.

  • avatar
    flsssphil

    Chrysler management used to blame their pathatic results on the 789 dealers they cut. Who are they going to blame for their incompetence on now? Why anyone would buy from this morally bankrupt company is beyond me.  Put a fork in them. They are done!

  • avatar
    mjz

    I don’t know why people expect them to turn this around in a few months. Seriously, Fiat has just taken over the reigns for pete’s sake!. Let’s give them a chance to implement their plans. After Daimler gutted them and Cerebus left them for dead, Chrysler was like a comatose patient in the hospital, and because they aren’t up and dancing the minute they come to, you want to euthanize them. The fact that they are awake and able to blink should be considered a miracle at this point. Let’s see if they can take a few steps after a little Fiat therapy.

    • 0 avatar
      johnthacker

      <blockquote>Chrysler was like a comatose patient in the hospital, and because they aren’t up and dancing the minute they come to, you want to euthanize them. The fact that they are awake and able to blink should be considered a miracle at this point.</blockquote>
      Huh?  Their results here are down 25% on the terrible, terrible month last year.  If they were comatose at their worst, they’re even worse now.  Things aren’t getting better, they’re still getting worse.  At least other car companies have, at worst, stabilized.
      The only reason that they’re still alive is that they stiffed all their existing creditors, and the bills from since they’ve restarted production haven’t come due.  They are nowhere near recovering.

  • avatar
    INSTANT

    Speaking of Journey sales, we just bought one.  Less than 2000 kms and we are getting random engine cutting out while driving…20 times in 3 days….NICE.  No help from the dealer because of course it doesn’t  happen at the dealership.  Thanks new Chrysler.  Now I blame myself.  Don’t make the same mistake.

  • avatar
    mjz

    That’s exactly my point. Why would you expect them to be “recovered” at this point? They were shut down for months with no production.  Fiat has just recently taken over. They have just started leasing programs again. Last month they were down 30%, this month 25%. That’s an improvement. Minivans  at 15,000,  plus sales, and their biggest sellers, were up  for the month. Journey/Avenger/Sebring sales were up significantly. Production of 2010 PT Cruiser/Caliber have/will just started. These are pretty big sellers that have had virtually no inventory/sales since the Clunker program. The first of the revised products (300, Charger, Grand Cherokee) will hit next year, and let’s face it, nothing drives sales like new sheetmetal. Heavily revised midsizers hit at the end of the year. It will be a slow climb.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It would be nice if all these sales numbers included fleet sales. The rental agencies can only keep their inventory low for so long, and then the cars will rack up enough miles that they need to sell them.

  • avatar
    HMMM

    Rod-
    These sales numbers DO INCLUDE FLEET SALES!!  That is the misleading problem.  Chrysler only sold about 30,000 in non-fleet units.  They made that 60k number by shoving a bunch of vehicles though fleet the last few days of the month, which is a old Chrysler trick, which they said they were not going to do anymore.    HMMMM.

  • avatar
    Trashmaster

    Chrysler only started PT Cruiser production up on Oct 28th. It took 3 weeks for the first one to roll off the truck at my local dealership. How can you measure sales of phantom products? The Sebring is butt ugly with the raked hood. The 300 gets a passing grade from retirees and blue hairs. The Journey has dismal MPG and an interior better suited for the 1974 model year. The Challenger has great looks and potential but is way over priced. Guys, I want a car that looks like a car, not a car that looks like a wanna be truck, a brick with wheels on steroids and a gaping oversized but empty grill and nose. The VW Bug was built for over 30 years with very few tweaks. If you could squeeze more MPG out of the PT Cruiser they would fly off the lots.
     
     

  • avatar
    John_K

    What kind of LOSER would consider buying a Chrysler??

  • avatar
    johngalt

    Are fleet sales included in monthly released sales figures?

    Even minivan sales (at around 15,000) are pathetically low and in no way justify a 3 shift operation at Windsor Assembly.

    Charger, 300 and Challenger combined sales of <7,500 units don’t even justify the plant being open.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    mjz,

    I feel for you living near Detroit.  I live there too.  But you have to see that Chrysler is doomed. 

    No new product.  Horrible interiors on every single car.   Outdated powertrains.  There isn’t a bright spot in the whole lineup.    I keep hearing that it will be three years before we see new vehicles. 

    At this rate, 66k sales a month, can they make it?  Remember that they sell approximately 60% to fleets, so that gives you maybe 25k customers buying a Chrysler for the month (and that includes the employees!).

    I can’t see Chrysler surviving past 2011.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Chrysler needs to stay viable until new products arrive and that is by far their biggest challenge. Why anyone wants them to go out of business is beyond me. They already got the bailout money which obviously if they go out of business won’t be paid back not to mention the effects of Chrysler ceasing to exist. They still employ many people directly and through their suppliers and dealers. Do you really want to see all of those people unemployed?
     
    For those that don’t understand the Fiat Chrysler relationship and apparently many still don’t, Fiat didn’t receive a dime of bailout money, they were given 25% of the new company in return for managing it and supplying their technology,  engines and platforms. Based on future performance they can gain another 10%. The UAW is the majority Chrysler shareholder. Were it not for Fiat there would be no Chrysler as they would not have emerged from bankruptcy. Fiat has plainly stated they will invest zero capital in Chrysler yet if Fiat management and product/engineering is successful Chrysler will be successful. Since no other entity was interested in Chrysler Fiat’s participation was Chrysler’s only chance of survival.  I cringe every time I read someone posting the “Fiat Chrysler” bailout because you don’t know what you’re talking about, there was no Fiat bailout.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Puthuff

      Fiat has plainly stated they will invest zero capital in Chrysler.
      If FIAT was given 25% of Chrysler and the taxpayers gave Chrysler $7+ billion, how is that not a FIAT bailout? What risk (debt) has FIAT assumed?

  • avatar
    JSF22

    This is simple. Is any Chrysler product the preferable choice in its segment? Clearly not. Hell, I won’t even rent them anymore, they are so nasty. The sales slide will therefore continue. The only open question is whether my tax dollars will continue to be stolen from me to prop the place up until its next-generation 300 and Grand Cherokee launch into shrinking segments and also fail. Will Fiat products be the salvation? Only if Americans are suddenly willing to buy an Italian car when they can buy an Asian or German car for the same money. This travesty needs to end.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    Consumer Reports where right when they said in April that none of the Chrysler vehicles was worth buying, they could not recommend any of them, and so you still have “fools” buying them and then complaining on some of our blogs that they purchased a “lemon”, a lot of people must be stupid over all imho!

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Jeff,
     
    It is not a Fiat bailout because Fiat did not receive any money. Their 25-35% ownership stake is worth exactly zero at the present time and will only have any value going forward if their management, technology, platforms/engines make Chrysler profitable.  The value of Fiat’s 25-35% ownership will only materialize if their contributions to Chrysler make Chrysler both profitable and valuable as an entity. By any definition of bailout Fiat was in no way a part of it.
     
    Again, since Chrysler has already received the bailout money why would anyone post that Chrysler should cease as a business now meaning there is zero possibility of the bailout funds being repaid? Irregardless of your personal feelings stating that doesn’t even make any economic sense. The taxpayers have already spent the money why shouldn’t Chrysler continue operating in hopes of the money being repaid?
     
    We all know exactly what dire straits Chrysler is in yet some dismiss giving them any reasonable amount of time to succeed. For both GM and Chrysler the turnarounds can’t possibly happen in 90 days. Everyone needs to remember the current annual sales rate and take that strongly into consideration when viewing either company’s performance.  Just on a rational the taxpayers need the bailout funds repaid basis I would think anyone would want these companies to succeed. It doesn’t matter whether you like the companies or their products, you want the bailout funds repaid.


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