Fleet Queen Chrysler Asks Dealers for Advanced Small Car Warning

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

As a privately held company, Chrysler doesn't have to tell anyone anything. But in an enterprise as vast and well-charted as the American automobile industry, you can run, but you can't hide from market reality. Automotive News [AN sub] raises an interesting question: why is "fast moving" ChryCo asking its dealers to pre-order products five months in advance? In a July 3 memo to store owners, Chrysler claimed demand for its Belvidere-built products had 'skyrocketed.' Really? While Patriot sales were up 5.5 percent in June, Caliber sales tumbled by 43.6 percent, and the Compass crashed 38.8 percent. Apparently, "Chrysler is taking aggressive actions to realign our product volumes to coincide with market demand." Really? Chrysler killed Belvidere's third shift in March; it's currently running on two shifts with overtime. Would orders in hand inflate Chrysler's worth to a potential buyer? Anyway, buried in the article: an assertion [by AN] that "Chrysler is trying to stick to its guns on slashing unprofitable fleet sales." According to ChryCo, they've cut fleet sales by 20 percent. In truth, even the rental fleets don't want the cliff face depreciation cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups (despite a recently revealed, post spin-off, long term contract with Thrifty). And the automaker's retail/fleet mix is getting worse, not better. AN reckons fleet sales account for about 35 percent of Chrysler's total– not including dealer fleet sales.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 14, 2008

    Chrysler Belvedere? Isn't that a 1950's product??? I don't follow their products at all so somebody clue me in...

  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Jul 14, 2008

    Busbodger, Belvedere is the name of a manufacturing plant. And an excellent Vodka, by coincidence.

  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Jul 14, 2008
    (DJC all under one roof in a fancy, exclusive, CLLC-designed building). DJC = Dodge, Jeep, Chysler. Right? What does CLLC stand for?
  • IllinoisAutobahn IllinoisAutobahn on Jul 15, 2008

    I think it stands for Chrysler LLC (Limited Liability Corporation)