It’s not news that Chrysler has a weak product line, or that it’s doing less well than other car companies.
 
What is news is that the company is still inflating sales by dumping cars into fleet sales, even though it is now a private company and ostensibly able to do as it wishes, without regard to what the stock market might think. 
 
So, one would have been excused for thinking that they’d stop inflating their sales figures artificially, but that appears not to be the case.
 
An internal Chrysler, LLC memorandum leaked to the press discloses that Chrysler’s retail sales dropped more in November than those of any of its competitors: down 16.5% from the previous November period.
 
What’s it all mean?
 
It means that Chrysler hasn’t given up fudging the numbers just because it’s now a private company.
 
Publicly, Chrysler had claimed that sales in November were down only 2%. But the revelation that retail sales dropped 16.5% means that Chrysler made up the difference the old-fashioned way: by dumping vehicles into fleet sales. CNN quotes one dealer as putting it this way: "They’re sitting there telling us sales are down only 2% when we all knew something wasn’t right."
 
By comparison, Ford’s retail sales in November dropped 3% and GM’s retail sales were down 9/7%. Toyota sales increased 0.7% and Honda’s were up 4.7%.
 
Chrysler declined to comment on the report. The sales figures, however, show that pick-up sales in November dropped 13% while car sales jumped 41%, a sure sign of dumping into fleet markets. GM did the same thing in October, though not to such a drastic degree.
 
The implication is that Chrysler is trying to hide the seriousness of its sales erosion from the watching eyes of the world, even though it’s freely admitted that it has problems that will create a loss for the current year. It has articulated a plan under which it will break even next year. The expected slump in car sales in 2008, however, would hit Chrysler harder than its competitors, given the generally slower selling products which the company offers. Only the new vans have shown any real increase in sales – retail sales, that is.
 
Some habits appear to be harder to shake than others.

What do you think?
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