Chrysler repositions brand mix

Radio commentary
Edward Lapham is the editor of Automotive News

Aug. 24 -The Chrysler group's recovery program now includes a plan to reposition its

Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler brands.

That's because the automaker wants to appeal to more consumers, instead of having all of the brands bunched up in the middle of the field.

There are new upscale models, but price cuts play a big part.

For example, Chrysler is whacking the base price of the 2002 Dodge Neon to compete with other entry level models, such as the ones from Korea.

Chrysler is doing it by what the industry likes to call ``de-contenting'' the vehicles. Simply put, that means stripping off standard equipment.

Chrysler also trimmed some of the dealer's profit margins. That means that when you go to buy a new car, your dealer will have less room to negotiate over price.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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