Chrysler to Cut Fleet Sales to "Just" 20 Percent

Samir Syed
by Samir Syed

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.

Samir Syed
Samir Syed

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  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Jan 04, 2008

    How many of those minivan sales are to fleets? Unusual that December would be slow for all automakers but the Voyager increases 51%.

  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Jan 04, 2008

    Maybe Chrysler should go in the opposite direction of GM and Ford and embrace fleet sales. In fact, Chrysler should engineer its vehicles specifically for the fleet market. They could do it by making the interior out of the cheapest plastics possible. They could skimp on engineering, since no one keeps a rental more than a couple of years, and drive out cost/quality throughout the entire production process. Oh, wait, Chrysler already does that. Brilliant.

  • Alex Rodriguez Alex Rodriguez on Jan 04, 2008

    If there is one product where Chrysler still gets the benefit of the doubt, it has to be with Minivan. I am going to assume that at least 3/4's of the 36K in Dec mini sales came from the retail side, unless I see hard evidence to the contrary. Chrysler has been advertising heavily, and the early reviews have generally been pretty positive. Additionaly, Odyssey doesn't match up to the new Chrysler in terms of features. Maybe it is okay to give credit where credit is due.

  • Jaje Jaje on Jan 05, 2008

    Yeah, yeah Chrysler invented the minivan and stayed ahead of its domestic competition pathetic attempts at minivans until 1998 when its first serious competition in the Honda Odyssey came to being. Not too much longer the Sienna became a true full size competitor too. That's 3 viable alternatives in a shrinking market (yep for the past 5 years minivan sales have been dropping to the point well below 1M a year). The Caravan won't see 400k likely ever again unless the stigma of owning a "minivan" gets soccer moms out of their CUVs.