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Chrysler’s “Identity”

Discussion in 'Mopar News' started by 1999 White C5 Coupe, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Powdered Toast Man

    Powdered Toast Man Move along, nothing to see here

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    Let's be realistic about the "premium" label. Back in the day it was pretty apparent what differentiated a "working class" vehicle (Plymouth) and a more upscale or premium vehicle (Chrysler).

    These days base models include standard: power windows, power locks, keyless entry, USB ports and some sort of bluetooth connectivity and media player, and back up camera. Essentially "premium" is stuff like stitched dashes and perforated leather seats. Is there even room for premium brands these days when you can find these features on nearly every vehicle on the market?

    With the performance gains of turbos and electrification, I don't even see "performance" as a differentiation to justify the mission of an entire brand in the North American only market (unless you're making supercars - which Dodge definitely is not).

    The only differentiation I can see is styling. Dodge could be sleeker and more aggressive, whereas Chrysler could be more comfortable lines and fancy accent trim.

    You look at Hyundai and Kia. Kia used to definitely be the budget brand but these days the only difference between the two makes is styling.
     
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  2. Donte Lindsey

    Donte Lindsey Active Member

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    The Sebring sedan was offered with awd it just wasnt a popular option and was dropped.
    2008 Chrysler Sebring Limited AWD - Quick Drive - Motor Trend - Motor Trend (at https://www.motortrend.com/cars/chrysler/sebring/2008/2008-chrysler-sebring-limited-awd/ )
     
  3. Mr. Fusion

    Mr. Fusion Active Member

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    You make a good point, and I would say that with other things being equal, I like how Buick decided to focus on quiet comfort. By that I mean that I may not swoon over the end products, but I appreciate their attention to mission as a brand. People don't often realize how loud some mainstream cars are, until they get into a really quiet one; and I think that can convey "Premium" quite well. Chrysler could do the same thing, but I think they would also need to lead with design (especially compared to Buick).
     
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  4. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Some people buy Lexus only because they refuse to deal with/send their spouse to a Toyota dealer.

    “Customer service” is a whole area available for brand differentiation FCA isn't even aware exists.
     
  5. pug-man

    pug-man Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...... fascinating.
    How is that possible?
    (Re the 2nd portion of your comment)
     
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  6. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Beats me. Perhaps because Marchionne was an accountant and “customer service” is considered an intangible asset by accountants...
     
  7. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Believe it or not, I have been tempted by “luxury” brands solely for that reason. I will say that the Lexus cars (other than IS) are truly a step above, in my somewhat antiquated experience. The original ES was like nothing else on the market. Sadly, it seems pretty much all import brands do better than Chrysler in dealerships. (It's a shame Plymouth was not split off in the 1960s, because while it would have made Chrysler dealers demand cheap entry-level cars—as Dodge did—they would have, by now, had a much better dealership experience. As it is, I get the same service with my wife's 300C as I do with my Dart. In fairness to FCA, they don't see Chrysler as really being an upmarket brand. Or do they? What day is it?)
     
  8. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    When I bought my 2006 Chrysler 300C SRT8, Chrysler sent me this official letter thanking me for my purchase, with a certificate-looking thing promising to deliver a “premium” ownership and customer experience.

    To be honest, I bought the car because I just loved it. Loved the way it looked, drove and sounded. The level of performance and comfort was above anything costing thousands more. I looked at that certificate, thought how nice and filed away. I never expected to receive a better treatment, and sure enough, I never did.

    Jeep and Fiat now send me these glossy welcome kits filled with stickers and promises. I toss them away. In my cynic mind nothing is going to change until FCA gets serious and starts treating its own dealers like business partners, with all the respect and long-term commitment that that entails.
     
    #108 aldo90731, Jan 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  9. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Personally, I noticed a marked deterioration in the level of service I received from my CDJR dealership post 2015.

    When I spoke with my Service Advisor, he mentioned that FCA had made his boss tie his pay to the performance on the FCA customer surveys:
    1. Anything less than a 9 (on a 1-10 point scale) resulted in a zero.
    2. Each individual survey counted.
    Many times he felt that he got penalized for issues that were out of his control. So his preoccupation shifted from making sure his customers’ issues were resolved, to making sure he got a ”10” on each survey.
     
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  10. flffddy

    flffddy Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather go to the Toyota dealer across the street than deal with the joke that is my CDJR dealer. Unfortunately I'd rather buy from the Toyota dealer too because there you go in and you buy a car and you're out within a couple hours max, whereas my CDJR dealer for some reason thinks it should be an all day ordeal where they add on hidden fees and costs hoping you don't notice.
     
  11. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Yes. I just went through that exact same situation when I traded my JKUR Recon for a Toyota Tacoma. The experience at the Toyota dealership was beyond anything I got at the Jeep dealer across the street.

    When the time came to buy a JL I did all the work online. Jeep dealers around here don't advertise discounts; they expect you to walk in and start haggling from MSRP. Given how out-of-line JL MSRPs are from transaction prices these days, that was a non-starter for me.

    The only times I stepped into a Jeep dealer was to test drive; otherwise I had nothing to say to them. It is unfortunate that it has come to this, but I have to do what is best for me.
     
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  12. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    I just have to say... I went to a Honda dealer to look at the Civic Si since the magazines rave about it so much. The AARP program had already gotten me a hefty discount off list price. I know what the sales figures are.

    Two different dealers insisted that they could only sell for MSRP (after already sending hefty discounts by email) and one told me I can't order them because they're selling too well.

    I've since gotten emails to the effect that they really really really want to get rid of these things and please buy one for x,xxx off...

    All I can say is, sometimes the Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai dealers stink as much as the Chrysler dealers. But overall, the stats don't lie.
     
  13. Mr. Fusion

    Mr. Fusion Active Member

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    We've talked about this on here before, but I can't properly convey how much I hate this. First time I heard it was from my Saturn dealer in 2004 -- "If I don't get all 10's, I get dinged" -- and now I hear it everywhere I go.

    If consumers are given a survey with a 10-point scale, but the reviewer of that survey is treating it as a binary scale, then any results from the survey are inherently unsound and should not be applied to any statistical research. Anyone who commissions a survey needs to either (a) use a realistic approach, where a "10" in anything is rightfully acknowledged as rare, or (b) just start using a binary "Were you satisfied? Y/N" survey, and be done with it.
     
  14. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    The best buying experience I had was with CarMax. My wife and I visited their website. She found the vehicle she was interested in and called the site where it was. As the vehicle was at a site further than we wanted to drive CarMax transported it to the nearest site for no charge and put a 7 day hold on it. We then went up and test drove it. As we were still waiting for the insurance settlement, I also obtained preapproved financing from the credit union. One I received the settlement funds, it was then just a matter of providing a sales agreement to the CU to get the loan money and then back to CarMax for the final paperwork and payment. Yes, it was a bit of running around, but it still beat dealing with the dealerships sales staff and then finance office.
     
  15. svevar

    svevar Well-Known Member

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  16. Tony K

    Tony K Active Member

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    I didn't know FCA had that kind of power over dealership payroll. I may be mistaken, but I think your SA was lied to by his boss as far as who is doing the tying of pay to performance on surveys. My SA told me about number 1, and I don't doubt that the survey has potential negative effects on a dealer.
     
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  17. Ryan

    Ryan Moderator
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    I haven't asked for many details, but I do know that it's linked with sales bonuses somehow. As far as service, that may be true too. FCA offers rewards for service employees who up-sell certain items, but his base pay shouldn't be altered unless that's a policy his boss put in place.

    @CDJSalesPro may have more info, if he wants to share it.
     
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  18. 1999 White C5 Coupe

    1999 White C5 Coupe Well-Known Member

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    My son and his wife bought a new 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan and were very happy with their sales experience (and the vehicle).

    Later, my son attempted to buy a Ram 1500 CrewCab 4x4 from the same dealer - but a different salesperson (the salesperson from the Grand Caravan was on a 2-week vacation). My son was treated very poorly and the salesperson lied to him. He went to CarMax, found what he wanted, and bought it. He said he has never been treated so well by a car dealership (CarMax).

    My son said he will never buy a used vehicle from a new-car dealership - he will only deal with CarMax.
     
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  19. 1999 White C5 Coupe

    1999 White C5 Coupe Well-Known Member

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    I have bought and driven cars for 50 years now.

    I feel car dealerships are very much like fast-food restaurants. If you get the service you asked and paid for the first time, you actually feel somewhat relieved - almost giddy.

    Both industries have conditioned their customers to expect problems or delays the first time (how many out there check their bag at a fast-food drive-through, before driving off?). The car dealership employees often will act as if they are doing you a favor by having your car fixed right, and by the time they promised. It means very little if you bought the vehicle new there and may have also bought an extended warranty.

    Although not CDJR - the GM / corrupt UAW strike fiasco is still frustrating customers that could not get their cars fixed (while still under warranty) during and after the strike (I am one of those irritated customers). It will take GM and their dealers years to recover any goodwill they had.

    I have also found that few times that I rated a dealer service experience very low in a manufacturer’s survey, the survey fell on deaf ears. I have never been contacted by the manufacturer or the dealership, following submitting a survey for a poor service or sales experience.

    Since the last recession ended, many dealerships have been flush with sales and service business. I strongly feel that many employees have a “who cares” attitude - based upon the amount of business they have. That will change with the next downturn.

    Poor service has caused me to stop going to a dealership, even though I bought the car new there. However, if I receive good or exceptional service, I never hesitate to complete the follow-up survey and compliment those that did a good job.
     
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  20. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Years ago I managed the dealer customer satisfaction study for one of the more prestigious German automakers. Whenever a dealer received an extremely poor survey, they’d call HQ to ask them to throw out it, alleging that “we did everything humanly possible; s/he was disgruntled and unreasonable; there was nothing we could do...”. And HQ would then order us to throw out that survey.

    That taught me whenever I want my feedback on a poor experience to get through, I should give them a mid grade —e.g., a 4 or a 5 on a 10-point scale. That way the dealer can’t get my survey thrown out arguing that I am being unreasonable. The way most of these customer sat scores are calculated, even a mid grade is sufficient to torpedo their scores for that month.
     
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