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Chrysler Bets Future on Products

September 29, 2003

September sales are sputtering. Dealers can't believe the dearth of showroom traffic. Even a new blitz of rebates has failed to invigoratedemand for an aging lineup of cars, minivans and sport utilities, according to the Detroit News.What's wrong with the Chrysler Group? In the auto industry, the answer, as always, is product. Or in Chrysler's case, the lack of it, the News said."I am probably having one of the worst months I've ever had in 13 years," said Marc Treiber, a Chrysler dealer in Monroe, N.Y. "Business is just dead in the water, and it's scaring me."After an unexpected $1.1 billion loss in the second quarter, Chrysler is on the spot to break even soon or consider another round ofcost-cutting and job reductions, according to the News.Chrysler is paying the price, the News said, for a product plan that has yielded few new vehicles, while rival manufacturers have flooded the U.S. market with fresh models.Since Daimler-Benz AG acquired it in 1998, Chrysler's passenger car sales have fallen 34 percent. It all adds up to the lowest U.S. market share Chrysler has experienced in 15 years, the News reported."They are going to have to do something different because what they are doing is notworking," said Mike Lowe, a Chrysler dealer in Jasper, Ga., according to the News.
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