|Despite a 68,000 vehicle inventory, Commander still on track|
The Detroit News is running an article about DaimlerChrysler's 68,000 vehicle inventory and how it is going to temporarily idle some assembly plants in order to reduce that number. Despite this, they have no plans to delay any of their new nameplate offerings in 2005 including the Jeep Commander. Here's a snippet:
DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group plans to temporarily idle several assembly plants early next year, following General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., who last week announced first quarter production cuts to reduce inventories.
While Chrysler's U.S. sales are up 3.2 percent this year in a flat overall market, the automaker ended November with a surplus of 68,000 vehicles.
The shutdowns should not derail DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group from building on sales success in 2004, a year in which the automaker has increased market share and profits despite sluggish economic conditions, Tom LaSorda, Chrysler's chief operating officer, said in an interview Friday.
"The biggest challenge (in 2005) will be maintaining the momentum," he said.
In addition to lowering inventories, the temporary closings will allow some factories to prepare for new model launches, LaSorda said.
After posting financial losses in recent years because of an aging product lineup, Chrysler launched a record nine new vehicles this year. But some analysts warn Chrysler's momentum could slow in 2005 with fewer new cars and trucks coming on the market. And while some automakers expect U.S. industry sales to rise 3 percent or more in 2005, Chrysler expects industry sales to remain flat at almost 16.8 million units or grow slightly.
"There may be fewer than nine vehicles next year," LaSorda said. "But we have some pretty delightful surprises coming as well."
The Dodge Charger, a replacement for the Intrepid, and Jeep Commander, a large, upscale SUV, will be introduced next year and should bolster sales, he said. The company will also receive the full-year impact of the Chrysler 300 sedan, Dodge Magnum wagon and other vehicles introduced in 2004.
Be sure to check out the entire article.