Chrysler dealers will meet in Orlando, Florida tomorrow to discuss the Pentastar's future and their role in it. Some 1,735 (out of 2,314) dealers will be getting up close and personal with new models, as well as getting sneak peeks (call us!) at some of the upcoming model facelifts and updates including the refreshed Dodge Challenger and minivans, and the new Fiat 500.
Other than seeing the new products, they will have a variety of questions answered by Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat North America CEOs.
David Kelleher, a dealer from Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania and member of the Chrysler Dealer Council, told Wall Street Journal that "dealers will experience a very transparent show. They are going to go home with more information they have now. They will know about the future of the company."
Sergio Marchionne will finally address dealers personally, as well; since he and Fiat took over in summer 2009, the only real communication between him and dealers has been discussing future product with the media last winter. Other than that, he says he simply wasn't ready to speak with anyone until the proper plans for his super-company were ready.
While in Orlando, many dealers will also be asked to stay open on Saturdays in order to help both with sales and Mopar Express Lanes (for quick repairs / tune-ups / oil changes). The goal is to have 80% of dealers staying open on weekends by the end of next year (versus 68% now).
For comparison, 95% of Toyota dealers are open on Saturdays (including 100% of Lexus dealers), over 90% of GM dealers stay open, and 85% of Ford lots are there for you.
Mopar CEO Pietro Gorlier says, "We have to respond to customers and customers shop or get their oil changed on Saturdays. Those that stay open on Saturdays have had tremendous success and their oil change business has increased by 20%."
By Phil Alex
Source: WSJ (sub. req)