Lower fuel prices and a growing housing market (in sales and new home starts) could mean good things for pickup sales for the month of April. That would be good news for Chrysler, which recently reported a first quarter drop in profits of 65 percent when compared to this same time last year.
In a recent conference call with analysts, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne put much of the blame for the first quarter drop on two new and important — in terms of profits — production launches: the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2013 Ram Heavy Duty. When you can't enough of those vehicles to dealerships, for whatever reason, you are missing out on big profits.
Ram Trucks, in particular, will need to be careful as some indicators have the 2013 annual selling rate flattening at 15.2 (or 15.3) million units by year end. For the smallest of the Detroit Three truck makers, that could make increasing its market share a difficult proposition, especially with the arrival of two new GM trucks this year and possibly a new Ford half-ton later next year. Add into the mix a new leader — Reid Bigland — running Ram Trucks who will need some time to get acclimated, and the hurdles are obvious.
Our suggestion: More ad agency creative like "Farmer" would be a good start.