The most troubled of the Detroit Three automakers has been steadily losing ground, since last year’s reemergence from bankruptcy, even as the rest of the industry begins to rebound from 2009’s devastating sales slump. But a senior Chrysler official says there’s a glimmer of a silver lining to the cloud hanging over the company’s headquarters, in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Retail sales for March are so far running 51% ahead of February’s, said Fred Diaz, who heads the new Ram truck division as well as overseeing sales for Chrysler overall. But there is a downside, Diaz cautioned, during a meeting to outline the brand’s new ad campaign, overall Chrysler sales will still be down 12% compared to year-ago levels.
Diaz downplayed that part of the story, however, noting that in spring 2009, as the maker was heading into bankruptcy, it was dumping hefty incentives onto the market hoping to prop up tumbling demand. “We were buying the market,” the Detroit Free Press quotes the executive, noting that giveaways in March 2009 were running as high as $8,000 on some Chrysler products.