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Press says Chrysler will shrink to match “reality”

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press predicts the company should return to profitability as it cuts its operations to match “reality.”

“We could be the company that makes this transition to a viable model for a U.S.-based manufacturer going forward, if we base it on reality,” Press, said at a Motor Press Guild presentation in Los Angeles.

Press told the audience that Chrysler has determined that it has a better chance of turning a profit by selling fewer cars.

In the past year, Chrysler has cut a million units of capacity, trimmed its lineup and is working on thinning its dealer ranks. Speaking in Los Angeles, Press said the goal is to be able to be profitable on an annual sales volume of 2.5 million vehicles. The company sold just over 2.3 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2007 and U.S. sales are down 24.2 percent in the first eight months of 2008.

He didn’t give a timetable for a profit but Press said new products designed to create a more “visceral, emotional” image will begin appearing in 2010.

Press reiterated previous comments when he said, “we’ve achieved all of our financial targets that Cerberus set at the start of the year.” However, Press admitted, “if you look at it based on the change in volume, we’re not doing very well.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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