By on March 3, 2009

Yes, Chrysler LLC total sales were down 44 percent compared to February of 2008, but you wouldn’t know right away from reading Chrysler’s press release. The corporate spinmeisters have gone down the “retail sales” rabbit hole, mentioning only retail numbers in the entire release. The implication, of course, is that Chrysler doesn’t want fleet sales. Or, as Jim Press subtly puts it, “we see our retail number as a shining light of positive news.” More likely though, the fleets are beginning to abandon its ChryCo staples on fears (and experiences) of residual value hell. Ignoring the babble, the overall sales picture is atrocious.

Only Aspen and T&C emerged from February with less than 60 percent sales drops among Chrysler-brand vehicles. Wrangler was up 28 percent, but the Jeep brand was still down 32 percent overall. At Dodge, Charger and Ram were down “only” 31 and 36 percent, while the Journey sold 4,615 units in February. Blood everywhere else. And this despite news (via CNN) that Chrysler has been putting a record $5,566 average incentive on the hoods of its vehicles. Yikes. But hey, they’re down to a 100-day supply!

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40 Comments on “Chrysler Sales Down 44 Percent, As Kool Aid Flows Like Water...”

  • avatar

    When I read about Chrysler’s incentive spend I didn’t believe the article had copied the source correctly. I had to check Edmund’s to be sure. So, they’re going to solve their money problems by throwing more discounts at it and losing more money? Great.

    GM, Honda and Ford seemed to hold things in line. Nissan wasn’t too bad considering. Toyota’s up 35% YOY and still their sales are down the most of the Japan 3… But Chrysler… just wow…

  • avatar

    But hey, they’re down to a 100-day supply!

    Having their factories shut down helps with that…

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Great Gooley Mooley:

    PT -79%
    Sebring -83%
    Avenger -74%
    Caliber -77%

    All cars: -64%

  • avatar

    Perhaps in future we may see car ads extolling that you can by a Dodge Nitro for AUS$3,400.00 drive away, But you still won’t be able to get credit to pay for it :)

  • avatar

    Considering fleet sales are down over 70%, a mothly drop of only 44% is almost encouraging…….Almost.

  • avatar

    They still have Crossfires to sell? Seriously?

  • avatar

    Chrysler is a really odd company. The Challenger handily outsold the Avenger and Caliber. And, their second best-selling vehicle is dedicated off-road SUV.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    ajla– The Challenger sold because it’s not too bad. Ditto the Jeep. I don’t recall an example of customers rejecting crap product (Sebring, Avenger, Caliber, Compass, Pacifica, et all) in such a pronounced way.

  • avatar

    Your tax dollars at work!

  • avatar

    Both Charger and Challenger seem to be doing better in relative terms than the Avenger and Caliber.

    I would of guessed that the Caliber/Compass and Avenger/Sebring models would be discontinued by now.

    Do I detect a quote of the week?

    “We see our retail number as a shining light of positive news,” said Jim Press President and Vice Chairman – Chrysler LLC.

  • avatar

    “Chrysler LLC’s total February U.S. sales were 84,050 units including fleet sales”

    So they were bragging this morning about beating
    Ford because their percent decrease was lower? Never mind how many of the “sales” are still sitting on dealers lots.

  • avatar

    Sales are sales, no matter what color/shape/size. If they drop too quickly, either from retail, fleet, or exports to Mars, the company crashes.

    FWIW, I see a lot of Dodge Avengers here in Illinois. I think they are all rental specials, like the “sh*tbox Dodge” Stratus I rocked a couple years ago from Enterprise. It’s 106 miles to Chicago, it’s dark, wearing sunglasses, yada yada, where the hell are the map lights? Hit it.

    I’ll be back in Michigan in late May – Auburn Hills may be a crater then. But no worries!

  • avatar

    Chrysler is using government money for huge sales incentives to undercut other manufacturers. That’s unfair competition. That’s dumping with the help of government bucks.

    So now you see how government support for Chrysler makes the situation more difficult for other, better companies that didn’t get a bailout. The government rewards the incompetent at the expense of others that are (still) in better shape.

    Maybe it’s better to close down Chrysler and divide their market share over the other manufacturers. Now that would help the industry.

  • avatar

    I Pass by my Local Dodge Dealer about twice a week.

    In the past three months, there has been the same rental specials sitting on the lot, and one very dirt Challenger R/T.

    You would have thought they went out of business, but the Salesmen are still standing in front of the showroom.

    It’s kinda sad really.

  • avatar

    Number 4 in U.S. and number 1 in Canada for Feb. sales. Lets shut em down… they’re embarassing.

  • avatar

    They have no new products in the pipeline, that’s what is embarrassing.

    Do they have anything like the K-cars or LH cars to get them out of the ditch this time? I haven’t seen it.

  • avatar

    This site is so biased. Chrysler out sells Honda and you guys clobber them.

    This site is a joke.

    You are looking for a logo but you already have a motto:

    TTAC – “All Negative all the Time”

  • avatar


    I agree this site is biased, but hard to escape that #4 in US sales came with the aid of a few billion taxpayer dollars. By any analysis of their financial condition, Chrysler is toast.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Folks, I do have to say that they are selling these vehicles as well as they can given everything that’s going on.

    I’m very surprised they’re #1 north of the border.

    I’m not surprised that the Challenger, Wrangler and Journey are selling well. I still think that most Americans would take a Journey over the Rondo and Mazda 5.

    Then again you throw in the vehicles I’ve mentioned, throw in the minivans and pickups, and you may very well have every worthwhile asset that Chrysler has at this point.

  • avatar

    Again I’d be less bearish about Chrysler if they had any real new products in the pipeline.

    Ford has the 2010 Taurus and Fiesta.

    Even GM has the new LaCrosse and the Volt (maybe, could be vaporware).

    What does Chrysler have that’s a game changer? Because that’s what they need to survive to live another day–a real game changer.

  • avatar

    BDB, you havent seen any product? No game changer? They didnt call you? Huh. No offense but how do know what they are working on?

    Hope you dont base what you know on what you read here.

  • avatar

    Mopar: I have occasionally given Chrysler the benefit of a doubt because of hearing of the new cars that are supposedly in the pipeline, but since Chrysler has been a smoke and mirrors show since Cerberus took them over, I don’t have any reason to believe that Chrysler is cooking up a game changer that is going to save their ass this time. Especially considering that Daimler gutted just about all of their engineering resources.

  • avatar

    Does anything that is actually selling on a Dodge/Chrysler lot get over 20 mpg city? If we subsidize a company that is only selling gas guzzlers, when do we get around to actually having a policy regarding fossil fuels, energy security and global warming?

    EJ_San_Fran is right, Chrysler’s subsidized discounts are killing GM, and especially Ford. There’s too much capacity, and the weakest link has to go. Sorry Chrysler, you are the weakest link, you are the weakest link.

    Instead of spending 10 billion subsidizing Chrysler, we can take the same 10 billion and buy CF light bulbs for the whole freaking country reserving the last billion for spending a thousand dollars insulating a million homes for people too poor to do it themselves. We can put Chrysler workers to work making the light bulbs. (Unfortunately, we’d have to buy the equipment to do it from China, because we don’t really make CF light bulbs in the US.)

    In the alternative, we can create a few thousand jobs for people to go around the country doing energy audits, showing people where they can insulate to save money. We need to do this whether we bail out Chrysler or not. It’s the perfect job for a college grad of the class of 2009 who isn’t going to find a job anywhere else anyway.

    We can spend $10 billion buying 5 million clunkers at $2000 each. If we get the dirtiest 5 million cars off the road, we can cut pollution (except carbon dioxide) in half. (Actually, I know that the pollution wouldn’t go down that much, because you wouldn’t get the dirtiest vehicles or the ones that drive the most miles, but it would make a huge difference.)

    As a side note, notable by its absence from either GM’s or Chrysler’s viability plan was a mention of repurposing of any of the manufacturing facilities. It is telling that neither company could come up with any profitable use for any of its old factories. It is a combination of lack of imagination and a cost structure that prices them out of every other business.

    Compare to Honda. Though mainly a carmaker, Honda is a leading producer of motorcycles, lawnmowers, generators large and small, and they are looking at making residential fuel cells. They’ve dabbled in robots and business jets.

    Hyundai has companies that make just about everything under the sun.

  • avatar

    -Caravan was #1 minivan
    -Wrangler was #1 Body-on-Frame SUV
    -GROWTH in retail sales vs last February
    -Beat expectations of sales drop (most were predicting 50% range)

    All things considered, that’s not bad.

    The incentives were way up there, yes, but the actual decent product’s incentives were in line with the industry as a whole (or, at least the other 2 domestics). If you go and investigate, you’ll find that the bad cars (Sebring, Avenger, Caliber, Compass) are absolutely loaded with incentives, while the better products (even the Patriot) don’t have nearly the same cash on the hood.

    And the Chrysler execs still claim that they’re making money on some of these ultra-discounted cars (with THOSE interiors, it doesn’t surprise me). All we have is their word, though.

    BDB – New Grand Cherokee, Durango, 300, and Charger all coming within the next 2 model years. I think the GC will be introduced at New York, dunno about the others.

    Conslaw – Governor Jim Doyle (Wisconsin) is in talks with GM about making train/light rail engines in the Janesville Assembly (GMT900’s were made there) plant that was shut down recently.

  • avatar

    Conslaw, what planet are you from?



    “I don’t have any reason to believe that Chrysler is cooking up a game changer that is going to save their ass this time”

    Well I guess once they find out they have lost you they will probably just quit trying.

    I never knew so many auto insiders hung out here.


  • avatar

    mmmmmmmopar,I do know what they are working on…..

    Another taxpayer cash injection to prop-up a product line that just replaced Suzuki for the bottom of the barrel CR ratings.

    electric cars ? (see hybred Aspen/Durango)
    Fiat? long shot
    200c nope


  • avatar

    RNader?? youve got to be kidding.

    If my name was RNader I wouldnt tell anybody.

    I must be dreaming.

  • avatar

    What does Chrysler have that’s a game changer? Because that’s what they need to survive to live another day–a real game changer.

    Not a lot really.

    The Phoenix V6 engine program is supposed to still be on.

    They have those “ENVI” electric vehicles that are supposedly going to be on sale to the public by 2013 at the latest. They also showed off those CGI versions of a reworked 300 and Grand Cherokee claiming better fuel economy and nicer interiors. Some people are speculating that a gas-powered version of the Chrysler 200C concept will replace the Sebring/Avenger in the near future.

    Beyond that I’ve read a new Charger would be out around the time a new 300 is released. I’ve read conflicting reports about its styling. Some claim it’ll be retro and look like a 1970 Charger (but with 4 doors), others say it’ll have a new modern look. Chrysler claimed the new Charger would be offered as a two-mode hybrid as well. However, I don’t know if Chrysler has abandoned the Two-Mode program altogether or not.

    I’ve also read that the Ram 1500 is supposed to get a small displacement CUMMINS diesel option at some point.

    Then of course there’s the small car from Fiat/Nissan/Cherry that gets tossed around every so often.

  • avatar

    So, the government is giving Chrysler what, $10-12000 per each vehicle. And Chrysler is practically giving cars away. And they still can’t move them. Because #1 people aren’t buying cars. And won’t be for years. If ever again. And #2, they suck. Chrysler has no product worth mining iron for. Daimler starved them to death.

  • avatar

    I am so jaded that this news doesn’t seem to register with me.

    Why doesn’t Chrysler just redesign the Sebring. That should have been one of Nardelli’s first moves.

  • avatar

    In the long run, the time frame for new launches burns far too much bail-out money. By 2012,2014 how much cash will it be? This is starting to look like a AIG on lease payments for Christ sake.

    I say give each and every Chrysler employee 200k to go away, and save money in the long run. Then move on to fix the god damned mess over at GM!

    When all is said and done, what is Chrysler going to launch(eventually)that can’t be done(better) by another car maker? Really!

  • avatar

    I’m not familiar with all the numbers… what is the average tax payer coughing up to cover the government buyout? At an average of $5,500 in incentives on each car, does that mean I’m getting my bailout “investment” back in Chrysler incentives?

    I’m only half serious, but I would be interested to see how those numbers stack up.

  • avatar

    These thieving political peasants sold more cars than I thought they would.

  • avatar

    OTOH, Chrysler leads the pack in Canada. It’s been GM that’s been hammered down into 3rd place. They must be doing *something* right.

    The sheer amount of Calibers that I see on the road around me is staggering. I wager that it’s a good deal and Canadians never pass up a good deal … it happens so infrequently, sigh.

  • avatar

    “BDB, you havent seen any product? No game changer? They didnt call you? Huh. No offense but how do know what they are working on? ”

    Well, on Ford’s website I see the 2010 Taurus and 2011 Fiesta, and GM keeps talking about the Volt. All Chrysler has talked about is a face lifted 300/Charger and cutting out the PT Cruiser and Aspen.

    The Grand Cherokee? Full size SUV sales are in the tank! This isn’t 1999.

    If they have something up their sleeve it must be one hell of a surprise.Most car companies like to tout a game changer when it’s in development.

  • avatar

    “If they have something up their sleeve it must be one hell of a surprise.Most car companies like to tout a game changer when it’s in development.”

    Especially when they are begging for the money to survive until they can use those game changers to get back on their feet.

    This site may have a bias against Chrysler but I feel that it’s well deserved. They have shown nothing of note as new products go. Ford and GM have shown a tangible future product that can potentially help their future. Chrysler showed some bad photoshops to support their case. The people over at aren’t amused by Chrysler’s poor skills.

  • avatar


    “Well, on Ford’s website I see the 2010 Taurus and 2011 Fiesta, and GM keeps talking about the Volt. All Chrysler has talked about is a face lifted 300/Charger…”

    Dude, the volt is vaporware. And the 300/Charger?
    It’s a new platform (LY vs current LX) Not a facelift. “The LY was to be used as the basis for three Mercedes classes: E, CLS, and R (starting in 2010-2012). We don’t know that status of that deal.”

    “New versions of the 2011 Chrysler 300 and 2011 Dodge Charger will appear in calendar-year 2010, and will be made exclusively in Brampton, including models for sale in Europe. The revised Challenger may or may not lag the others. There has been no hint of a luxury version yet, but (speculation) it is possible that the 300 will be on a longer wheelbase than the Charger. (That would make room for the 200C).”

    “The Grand Cherokee? Full size SUV sales are in the tank! This isn’t 1999.”
    Uh, the GC is a mid-size SUV. It has NEVER been full sized (unless you think a Suzuki Samarai is big).

    “Most car companies like to tout a game changer when it’s in development.”
    I don’t think the Ford Taurus or Fiesta is a game changer. They’re just (hopefully) good cars, kind of like the new 300/Charger and GC/Durango.

  • avatar

    In light of Chrysler’s and GM’s sales performance this past month it’s time to face the facts, ladys and gents. Chrysler sales were only down 44% to GM’s almost 53% and Ford’s 48.4%. The Dodge brands 38% decline was less than the following automakers:

    Dodge was in a vertual tie with BMW, Honda, and Lexus. Chrysler was number one in Canada. If you look at pure retail sales and take out fleet, Chrysler outsold Ford.

    GM however is floundering. They can’t get rid of their brands, nobody wants SAAB, Opel, Hummer, or Saturn. The Aussie Pontiacs have failed. The Opelized Saturns have failed. It’s going to cost too much money to save GM. They are sucking all the resources from Washington that could be used to shore up Ford and Chrysler.

    It is time for GM to die. GM should die so that Ford and Chrysler can live. It is the way of nature. It’s triage. GM has no new products in the pipeline. Volt is vaporware. Everything they have done recently (Malibu, CTS, Lambdas) has not gotten them out of the mess they are in. They don’t have a gamechanger in development.

    Time for GM to take a dirt nap. No one will miss them. No one wants their products. They are all gas guzzlers. What car or truck does GM make that isn’t already made by someone else? Maybe someone will pick up the Cadillac brand after the C7. Or the trucks. Some part of GM might live on.

    Sometimes you have illustrate absurdity with absurdity. Just remember Best & Brightest; We are not engaged in a game of “Life Boat” here. This is serious and a lot of jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

  • avatar

    Dodge was in a vertual tie with BMW, Honda, and Lexus. Chrysler was number one in Canada. If you look at pure retail sales and take out fleet, Chrysler outsold Ford.

    Dude, they’re practically giving their cars away with Employee Pricing ++ and zero percent financing, and that’s before you even enter the dealership!

  • avatar

    Sad to say, the best Chrysler is going to be able to do in the near term is improve the interiors on the existing lineup, and perhaps a reskin or two. My guess is that the 300 will be first in line for the new bodywork. All the underpinnings will no doubt remain the same. These improvements will not save the company. Yes, the Ram seems to be a top flight truck, but that is not where the action is anymore. All the Daimler designed rides need replacement and there is neither the time nor resources for that.

    With the Dow below 7000, most people who have planned for the future (myself included) have seen their portfolios plummet in value. Living ATM’s, I mean homes, have dropped big time. Those who have spent instead of saving can’t anymore. Those who are fiscally responsible aren’t buying unless they have to. Future looks a bit bleak…looks like Nocar is overpowering Mopar…sad, it really is.

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