Wranglers in Short Supply Due to Plant Shutdown

Date 2009/7/13 7:12:00 | Topic: Wrangler

While Chrysler's bankruptcy was mostly bad news, one positive thing that came out of it was a reduced inventory. Two years ago, Chrysler had almost 500,000 vehicles in inventory - today, that number is down to about half of that. For the most part, that's great news for the bottom line, but for popular models like the Wrangler, it means shortages.

According to the Wall Street Journal, both the Wrangler and the Chrysler Town and Country Minivan have been hit particularly hard:
Alan Helfman, owner of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep in Houston, has been sending drivers as far away as Kansas City to buy Jeep Wranglers from other dealers. "I could use all the Wranglers I could get," Mr. Helfman said.

Springtime is peak season for the Wrangler, the only off-road vehicle sold in the U.S. with convertible models. Town and Country is benefiting from increased demand and lower production than the Dodge Caravan.

The shortages have helped increase average sales prices for new and used Chryslers from a year earlier, according to online shopping site Edmunds.com. In May, the average new Chrysler vehicle sold for $28,384, up $1,431 from a year ago. The average Dodge sold for $2,514 more. Some of that increase is due to a deep drop in fleet sales, but it can also be affected by a changing mix among vehicles sold. "We are moving toward being more demand driven," Chrysler spokeswoman Carrie McElwee said.

Chrysler still requires heavy incentives on many vehicles to sell them.

While it had less than a 40-day supply of a few vehicles, including the Wrangler, at the end of May, according to Autodata, it had a glut of others, such as the Dodge Caliber and the Jeep Patriot. Some dealers said they are being forced to buy less-sought-after vehicles from their fellow dealers in order to get a few coveted Wranglers or Town and Countrys.

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