Chrysler Sales Slump Prompts Marketing Reshuffle

15 June 2006

US automaker Chrysler Group has taken a large yardbrush to its sales and marketing department and swept out several senior figures.

The DaimlerChrysler unit is attempting to halt the slump which resulted in a sales drop of 2.5% through the first five months of the year, and an 8.4% slide in May.

Gone as of July 1 will be Gary Dilts, svp US sales, and Raymond Fisher, vp sales, service and parts operations.

Stepping into their roles are Steven Landry, currently president/ceo of Chrysler Canada, who becomes vp of sales and field operations; while Michael Manley has been named vp for sales strategy and dealer operations. Both will report to Joe Eberhardt, evp for global sales, marketing and service.

Ceo Tom LaSorda, who took over after Dieter Zetsche moved to the top job at the German headquartered parent last September, says he is counting on a new marketing and advertising campaign to sharpen Chrysler's image and to highlight summer special deals.

LaSorda remains zip-lipped about details but admits the marketing initiative will include a repositioning of the company's gas-guzzling Hemi V8 engine.

He says the key is to prop up sales during the next few months before the launch of new, fuel-efficient models, such as the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff