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AP breaking a story about Chrysler's sales, relates to several threads so I'm putting this in on it's own. Covers MY11 Caliber life, behind the numbers, Retail Dealers, product development, incentives, buying, pricing ... extracts below but linked [AP]

August 7, 2010 Chrysler sales rise but problems lurk behind gains
By TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer
Chrysler now brags each month about growing sales but beneath the surface of those sales figures are troubling signs for Chrysler. Most of Chrysler's gains this year came from sales to rental car companies, governments and other businesses, according to confidential data obtained by The Associated Press. Everyday drivers have shunned its dated lineup of cars and trucks.
Overall, Chrysler's U.S. sales rose 12 percent from January through June compared with 2009. But sales to individuals, known as retail, tumbled 21 percent. Lack of enthusiasm for Chrysler cars and trucks is putting stress on its dealers, who are trying to hold on while the automaker overhauls its lineup. Its only new offering this year is the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee, although 16 new or updated models are coming soon. While many dealers are happy with the Jeep, they say they need new products faster.

Chrysler is the only major automaker to report a drop in retail sales. Retail sales for the industry are up 11 percent, and they rose only 1 percent at General Motors Co., the other Detroit automaker to get big government loans.

Both Chrysler and GM also lost sales to crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. Ford has posted strong retail sales by stealing customers from the other two.
All three Detroit automakers are struggling to lower their dependence on fleet sales. Roughly 40% of Chrysler cars sold in the first half of this year went to fleet buyers(Ford 36% , GM 32%).

Chrysler and GM dominate sales to rental car companies:
1. Chevrolet Impala - GM's aging sedan,
2. Chevrolet Cobalt, a compact that will be replaced in September,
3. Chrysler's Town and Country minivan,
5. Dodge Charger sedan.

GM has also struggled to keep customers from defecting after selling or ending its Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn and Saab brands. Only about 25% of customers are staying with GM's remaining brands, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

That's less than the 41 % of buyers that GM kept when it scrapped Oldsmobile in 2004, but more than the 18 % of Plymouth buyers that Chrysler retained.
GM argues that it is essentially a new company and should be judged on its four current brands where retail sales rose 19% in the first half.

Most automakers report their fleet and retail sales figures to Bobit Business Media of Torrance, Calif.
R.L. Polk & Co., also gathers fleet numbers from state registration data.
 
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