Monday, October 1, 2007

Press Says Chrysler May Trim Models

Associated Press

By DEE-ANN DURBIN 10.01.07, 11:30 AM ET


Chrysler LLC may need to trim some of its models and focus on how to reach a wider array of customers, the automaker's new head of sales and marketing said Monday.

"There seems to be a little too much overlap in some of the models," Jim Press told The Associated Press in an interview.

Press said Chrysler has focused on short-term returns for many years and needs a long-term plan. The company's products have an intrinsic appeal, he said, but that hasn't been effectively communicated.

"The company has let other people define us. We should define ourselves," he said.

He was not specific on what models may overlap or need to be cut.

Press, 60, was named vice chairman and president of Chrysler two weeks ago. Before joining Chrysler, Press spent 37 years at Toyota Motor Corp. (nyse: TM - news - people ), where he rose to become the Japanese automaker's top North American executive.

Press's hiring was a coup for Chrysler, which has been in private hands since August. DaimlerChrysler AG (nyse: DCX - news - people ) sold a controlling stake in the automaker to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Cerberus tapped former Home Depot Inc. (nyse: HD - news - people ) boss Bob Nardelli to be Chrysler's new chairman and chief executive, while former chairman Tom LaSorda now shares the title of president and vice chairman with Press. LaSorda is overseeing the company's manufacturing and purchasing operations.

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