Chrysler Fire Sale Continues
Chrysler's 14 percent February sales drop was, in and of itself, a staggering hit. But Automotive News [sub] reports that this decline occurred in the face of an aggressive campaign of profit-killing consumer incentives. In February, ChryCo "led" the market in incentives, kicking-up the deals by five percent to an average of $3,579 a vehicle. We're talking zero percent interest for 72 months on most remaining 2007 models and zero percent financing for 62 months on select 2008 models. Heading into March, the automaker is following the Churchillian advise: "When going through Hell, keep going." Chrysler is upping incentives by another five percent this month, and loading-up the special deals: a free Hemi upgrade for Ram buyers, a free tank of gasoline, a $500 rebate to U.S. military personnel (on top of any other incentives) and (ironically enough given the Plastech debacle) a $500 rebate to employees of companies that supply Chrysler components. Meanwhile, the automaker reported Chrysler Sebring sales soared by 92.5 percent in February, while Dodge Avenger sales rose 59.6 percent. Which makes us discount Chrysler's assertion that it cut back on rental fleet sales, and leaves us wondering: where would their numbers be without fleet sales?
Chrysler is a manufacturer of fleet vehicles that thinks it can compete for private sales. The sooner they wake up to reality, the sooner they will put a small bluetec engine in a 300C and start making money again.
Gotta wonder what the real worth is of a Sebring or Aspen. With the above listed discounts and reasonably equipped, the Sebring is still North of $20k. Who would pay that? The Sebring may really be worth $15k fully loaded, as not many would pay much more than that for it. I just went to the Chrysler site, and was surprised to see the Crossfire still for sale.
Ford and GM both stopped giving away cars for basically free to car rental agencies. Chrysler hasn't. I wouldn't be surprised if the percentage of Avengers and Sebrings that went into rental fleets isn't north of 50%. Hell, 60% or 70% (or even more) is fairly likely.