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Bales Motors in Jeffersonville, IN has made some big changes that, being a Mopar enthusiast, I am proud to see. The dealer has long been a Chrysler, Plymouth-now Dodge , Jeep, Nissan, and Hyundai dealership. About a third of their property went to each of the three main manufacturers. They recently dropped Nissan and appear to be using all the freed up space for CDJR products.
 

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That's good news. Though Nissan's on the downswing right now, for a while they appeared to be a cinch to beat Chrysler in sales, but they dropped and didn't come back up as far as I can tell (or simply didn't go up while others did), and they had a poor score in APEAL (not sure if that means anything since all small, inexpensive cars had a poor score in APEAL and a lot of Nissans are the Versas and such).

I wonder if any dealers kept Chrysler and Plymouth separate. They didn't need to, but you'd think it would help them sell Chryslers.
 

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Nissan definitely stumbled, but is starting to turn the corner. The first generation Versa was a disaster (although very popular with rental fleets!); the new one is a vast improvement, but dealers are having a hard time getting inventory. The Altima languished for the better part of a decade with only minor changes; it too has been redesigned and it's so much better this time that Nissan is actually worried about not being able to sell the last of the 2012 models. They are still terribly behind with trucks and SUV's, a segment they were strong in for many years. But I believe a new Pathfinder is coming later this year, and I assume a redesign of the Xterra will follow. Their large trucks have remained unchanged for almost a decade and have zero name recognition, and their minivan is a strange, quirky shoebox on wheels, so there is still much room for improvement.
 

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Sigh, they're working on the old Chrysler, PLYMOUTH, Jeep sign.
bet that thing's finally coming down. On the plus side, it'll make room for a sign that also includes Dodge!
 

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I wonder if any dealers kept Chrysler and Plymouth separate. They didn't need to, but you'd think it would help them sell Chryslers.
Around here, before the dealer consolidations placed all the brands under one roof, which happened around 1998- 2000 it was always, Dodge and Dodge Truck combined, then Chrysler Plymouth/Jeep, which I always thought was an odd combination to mix Chrysler's with Jeep. I suppose the logic was, if Chrysler didn't have Jeep, they would have very little floor traffic. Dodge and Dodge Truck always did well on it's own. Having all the brands under one roof with re-badged Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler's together killed Plymouth and nearly killed off Chrysler until the Sebring and 300. They really didn't think it through too well, probably just some guy with a German accent, white lab coat and a clipboard, said, "do it".
 

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I think Chrysler and Jeep was done because the demographics were similar. Jeep buyers tended to have much higher income than Dodge or Plymouth. Like it or not, Wagoneer, then Cherokee, then Grand Cherokee were a big hit with the wealthy suburbanites. (I believe that the President of Fram owned one at the time of the sale to United Technologies -- but I'm not sure of the timing -- it might have been later.)

As for Plymouth, well, yes. Pairing it with Chrysler never made sense, IMHO. The thought might have been "let's have a full line" but now we know that luxury cars sell better from their own dealerships. (What that says about society, coupled with things like special airport security lanes, is ... not for this time and place.)

Plymouth should if anything have been paired with Dodge (in the 1970s and 1980s) ... which would have forced more differentiation and given trucks to the mix. Indeed, rationally, in the 1970s, I would have squeezed Dodge out of the car business almost entirely and kept Plymouth and Chrysler for cars, Dodge for trucks, instead of doing what they did, which was squeezing Plymouth out of existence. Dodge was the unnecessary car then -- nothing to add that you couldn't get from Chrysler or Plymouth.
 

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Plymouth should if anything have been paired with Dodge (in the 1970s and 1980s) ... which would have forced more differentiation and given trucks to the mix. Indeed, rationally, in the 1970s, I would have squeezed Dodge out of the car business almost entirely and kept Plymouth and Chrysler for cars, Dodge for trucks, instead of doing what they did, which was squeezing Plymouth out of existence. Dodge was the unnecessary car then -- nothing to add that you couldn't get from Chrysler or Plymouth.
IIRC Chryslers picked up in price point and luxury where Plymouths left off in the 80's and 90's. If you wanted a PGV LE with leather and rear air, fog lights, and CD you had to go T&C. Dodges went the full bottom to top right?
 

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IIRC Chryslers picked up in price point and luxury where Plymouths left off in the 80's and 90's. If you wanted a PGV LE with leather and rear air, fog lights, and CD you had to go T&C. Dodges went the full bottom to top right?
That's the theory, but then there were Grand Voyager LEs like the 1994 one my old boss used to own, loaded with leather and AWD.

Plymouth should if anything have been paired with Dodge (in the 1970s and 1980s) ... which would have forced more differentiation and given trucks to the mix. Indeed, rationally, in the 1970s, I would have squeezed Dodge out of the car business almost entirely and kept Plymouth and Chrysler for cars, Dodge for trucks, instead of doing what they did, which was squeezing Plymouth out of existence. Dodge was the unnecessary car then -- nothing to add that you couldn't get from Chrysler or Plymouth.
Instead what you ended up with was Chrysler/Plymouth dealers and Dodge dealers competing with each other instead of GM and Ford. That cross competition lead to such things as the Plymouth Duster being cloned to the Dodge Demon and the Chrysler Fifth Avenue being cloned to the Dodge Diplomat SE.
 

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Actually, the C-P pairing was the result of the restructuring Chrysler did in the early 1960s, during the Lynn Townsend years. Prior to that, I believe (from reading the Curtis Redgap chronicles), there were separate Plymouth stores for a little while. Locally, I believe the local Chrysler-Imperial dealer also had DeSotos. Another dealer had Plymouth and Dodge. When that dealer closed, the Chrysler store got the Plymouths and the Dodge franchise went to the Dodge dealer's brother's Mercury-Lincoln dealership. With that last move for Dodge, they never did sell many Dodges or Dodge pickups, so by the earlier 1970s, the Chrysler store had all of the franchises. When Plymouth was deleted, that made room for those Chrysler stores to get Jeep as a replacement franchise.

I believe the action to delete Plymouth and put all franchises in one store was part of "The Phoenx Program", which Chrysler operatives hatched in the earlier 1980s or so. Cerberus operatives were considering doing the same thing, but found the old Chrysler program, so they put it into play. It was the recent Fiat connection which broke RAM out as a separate brand, probably for an easier sell in Europe or something?

You can talk about product overlap, but that seems to have been getting a lot of attention for no really good reason, to me. The way you have to consider it is that for each price point you have all of these different CHOICES of how to spend that money, depending upon your particular likes and dislikes in vehicles. So you have one price point that can cover MORE customer demographics, so that should mean MORE customers. If there was just ONE car at that price point, it limits things significantly in who's going to come it.

Even when Chrysler was allegely using too much "badge engineering", there was usually enough "flavor" differences to do justice to the nameplate on the vehicles. In the middle 1970s, I didn't see very many Dodge Charger SE customers that ended up with Cordobas, or Cordoba customers that ened up with a Charge SE. It was possible to spec out the Charger SE very close to what the Cordoba had, but you couldn't build the exact same-equpment car in the Charger SE, unless you did some parts switching yourself after delivery. Like the trunk carpet in the Cordoba rather than what was in the Charger. Some of the interior ornamentation on the instrument panel would have looked out of place in the Charger SE, to me, but was "right" for the Cordoba. As close as the two cars were, they were more different than some might have suspected, IF they'd bothered to look.

I believe it was chronicled in here, at that time, that when Diamler decided to kill Plymouth (which was selling minivans only at the time), they priced the same size of Chrysler minivan less than what a similar Plymouth minivan cost the prior model year. Yet they couldn't sell them to then-current Plymouth customers as those customers perceived the Chrysler to be "more expensive". It might also have been that if those customers had showed up in a Chrysler rather than a Plymouth, it could have sent the wrong message to their neighbors (in their particular neighborhoods). Similarly, if those same people had wanted a Dodge (and the sporty image it usually carried), they could have already been driving a Dodge. But they liked the image of Plymouth and obviously felt more comfortable with that than with a Chrysler or Dodge. Funny thing was that when the next-year sales figures were tallied, the first full model year after Plymouth was deleted, Chrysler's corporate vehicle sales decreased by about the same exact amount as what the last full year of production of Plymouth minivans was! AND, the same thing happened with GM and Oldsmobile! Customers lost forever, it seems, to import brands!

What became "Eagle" should really have been "Plymouth", to me. Plymouth could have covered that "import fighter" orientation pretty well, I suspect, IF the marketing had been "right".

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 
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