WISCONSINREPORT.COM (04/03/2009) - Chrysler LLC has reported March U.S. total sales of 101,001 units, which is the first time since Sept. 2008 that the Company has surpassed 100,000 units, representing a 39 percent decrease versus 2008. Chrysler retail market share increased to an estimated 10.0 percent versus 9.9 percent in March 2008.
Total March sales include a fleet reduction of 44 percent year-over-year for the same period, as the Company continues to emphasize retail over fleet.
“The market is starting to show small signs of life which need to be nourished like seedlings,” said Jim Press, Vice Chairman and President, Chrysler LLC.
“The fact that we exceeded 100,000 units for the first time since last fall is encouraging, and evidence that our improved quality, improved mileage as well as value represented in Employee Pricing Plus Plus are just what the doctor ordered for recession-wary customers who are reluctant to make long-term purchases."
"It’s too early to see a trend, but spring shows signs of hope," Chrysler's Jim Press says.
“It’s business as usual as we stay focused on our customers and dealers, listening to what they have to say and building their confidence and trust,” Press added.
“The U.S. government provided a critical vote of confidence in the Company’s alliance with Fiat SpA. The Administration’s announcement gave Chrysler a clear path to finalize plans for the future," Press continued.
"Moving forward, our goal is to translate the confidence to our customers through our continued focus on quality, reliability and service."
"Our internal warranty data shows that we have achieved the lowest claim rate in our Company’s history, with a 30 percent improvement in the last 12 months. And reinforcing the Company's improved quality and customer satisfaction initiatives, as reported by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler had the industry's lowest number of recalls in 2008."
"We attribute this to a focus on designing and building in quality during previous years," Press said.
March Sales Highlights
- Sales of the Dodge Ram were up 34 percent (19,328 units) in March compared to February.
- Jeep Wrangler sales were up 16 percent (10,000 units) year-over-year compared to March 2008 (8,589 units).
- Posting a year-over-year increase, Dodge Journey sales in March (5,987 units) were up 127 percent compared to March 2008 (2,640 units), and up 30 percent compared to February 2009.
“We had a volume challenge out to our dealers, who responded with a solid retail month, providing an increase in retail share year-over-year,” said Steven Landry, Executive Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Parts and Service.
“We hit March strong with our Dodge Truck Month and Employee Pricing Plus Plus promotion. Together with our dealers we kept consumer traffic moving with a singular marketing strategy based on ‘Employee Pricing Plus Plus’ with our advertising efficiently targeted to the same message, and delivering results,” Landry said.
The Company finished the month with 349,612 units of inventory, or an 87-day supply. Inventory is down 17 percent compared with March 2008, when it totaled 423,607 units.
Employee Pricing Plus Plus Continues in April with ‘Zero Financing for 48 Months’
Chrysler LLC will extend through April 30 the Employee Pricing Plus Plus program, which offers the employee price to all customers purchasing or leasing a new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle.
With feedback from dealers, the company decided to bring back 0% for 48 months through Chrysler Financial on select products to provide qualified customers with more financing options (or flexibility).
In addition, customers are eligible for cash discounts of up to $3,500 for 2009 model year vehicles. Also, there are great deals on any 2008 models in stock.
Additionally, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Company’s minivans, customers can add at no change a DVD player on Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan.
With a bold powerful design, the all-new for the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 has more than 35 new or improved features. The Ram features an improved frame design incorporating high-strength steel, as well as first-in-segment multi-link coil spring rear suspension that improves ride and handling characteristics without sacrificing payload and towing capacity.
The all-new interior stands out with a renewed emphasis on craftsmanship, expressed in premium interior appointments including redesigned controls and upgraded soft-touch materials. The new Dodge Ram has received a ‘five star’ rating from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration for the driver and front passenger.
In celebration of the minivan’s Silver Anniversary, Chrysler is offering all-new 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 25th Anniversary Edition minivans, available with minivan-first innovations including Stow `n Go seating and storage system, second- and third-row dual-DVD entertainment system, uconnect studios SIRIUS Backseat TV and segment-leading 25 mpg highway fuel economy.
Recently Chrysler minivans took top honors in the J.D. Power and Associates IQS study.