Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chrysler's 4 cylinder Cars Lagging Market

Business Weekly by: David Kiley

There is a rush for smaller vehicles with four-cylinder engines. And Chrysler should be racking up big gains.

Bt when you look at July sales, the Dodge Caliber was down 4%, and is off 20% on the year. The Jeep Patriot was up 4% and is selling well. And the Compass was down 46% in July and down 20% on the year.

Some of this is due to a decline in fleet sales, and it doesn’t take into account Chrysler’s exports of these cars to other markets. But the group is still under-performing trend in the U.S., especially if you consider the interest people supposedly have now in smaller vehicles with lots of utility like these.

Vice chairman Tom Lasorda says the cars have lagged for lack of marketing support. “You should talk to [vice chairman] Jim Press about that,” Lasorda said with a laugh at the Center for Auto Research Management Seminar in Traverse City, MI today. Press is in charge of sales and marketing at Chrysler whereas Lasorda, the former COO, is in charge of the manufacturing side of things and forging global joint ventures.

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