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Chrysler bucks trend by predicting it will sell more cars in Q4, thanks to Journey

28 Oct 2008

DESPITE Chrysler suffering in its home market and industry sales slowing in Australia, the managing director of Chrysler Australia Gerry Jenkins believes the American brand will see a strengthening of its sales Down Under during the final quarter of this year.

Although he predicted that new-vehicles sales industry-wide would not be as strong as last year, Mr Jenkins said the combined sales performance of the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products should end up ahead of 2007.

“Last year, we did just under 11,000 units and... we could end up between five and eight per cent better than last year,” he told GoAuto recently.

Mr Jenkins said Chrysler should garner the growth from fresh product and sales incentives to end the year at around 11,500 units. Year-to-date, Chrysler is down 11 per cent and Jeep is down 1.6 per cent, while Dodge is up 34.5 per cent as new models make their mark.

41 center imageLeft: Jeep Patriot and Compass.

“I think with Journey, that will help us get back to where we need to be. We’re going to do promotions on the Jeep side as well – Jeep is still 65 per cent of our volume, so I am very confident that we can close the year on a good note,” he said.

“We’re banking heavily on (Journey). We think that it’s an aggressive position price-wise, a good package. We hope to drive a lot of our business with Journey.

“I am very hopeful – but I think the last quarter of the year should be better than the third quarter. In the third quarter, there was the confidence issue, there were rate increases, indecision on the LCT, indecision in the financial markets.

“I think things are stabilising a little, or I feel they are... so I think the market will – I don’t want to say bounce back – but it should recover a bit.”

Earlier this month, the Chrysler Group introduced a 2.0-litre diesel (with dual-clutch transmission) model variant for the Dodge Avenger. If it proves popular, the company will also consider importing the same engine and transmission combination in the Chrysler Sebring.

Chrysler will next have updated models of the Jeep Patriot and Compass in the first quarter of 2009, with the primary change being to address the criticism of poor quality interiors with better-quality soft-feel plastics and revised colour combinations.

Other new products coming by mid-2009 include a revised Dodge Caliber – again concentrating on improved interior quality – and an update for Jeep Commander.

With a similar upgrade to the Grand Cherokee released in August, the Commander will also get an interior upgrade and new equipment such as the MyGIG entertainment system.

Mr Jenkins did not play down the recent events and its impact on the new-vehicle market as a whole in the US.

Of the US economy’s problems, Mr Jenkins said: “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
What's coming:
Jeep Patriot upgrade 1st qtr 2009
Jeep Compass upgrade 1st qtr 2009
Dodge Caliber upgrade 2nd qtr 2009
Jeep Commander upgrade 2nd qtr 2009
Chrysler Sebring CRD DCT late 2009

Read more:

LCT hike needs rethink, says Chrysler boss

Dodge’s avenging diesel

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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