DETROIT - To deal with a record number of vehicles coming off lease this year in Canada, Chrysler Canada Ltd. has reorganized its remarketing team and put it under the guidance of DaimlerChrysler's U.S. fleet operations.
In 1998, Chrysler Canada sold between 30,000 and 35,000 used vehicles at 10 auto auctions in Canada, including off-lease, program and repossessed vehicles. This year, it expects to sell between 70,000 and 100,000 used vehicles, said Frank Stephens, senior manager of vehicle remarketing for DaimlerChrysler's U.S. fleet operations.
Stephens, who oversaw the remarketing of 350,000 vehicles in the United States last year, has led the Canadian reorganization that began Jan. 1. He discussed the changes with Automotive News at his office in Southfield, Mich.
'We see this market growing similar to the United States. This is not a quick fix,' he said.
In the past, the remarketing of Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Jeep vehicles had been handled by two people: a remarketing director for Chrysler Canada and a remarketing director for its captive finance company.
But with such a large increase in off-lease vehicles, DaimlerChrysler wanted to bring more structure to the operation and improve the distribution of vehicles to its 578 franchised Canadian dealers as well as independent used-car dealers in Canada.
Under the new system, Canada is split into three regions with a remarketing manager in charge of each. A fourth manager is based at Chrysler Canada's headquarters in Windsor, Ontario. All four report directly to Jim Kenney, Chrysler Canada's national sales development manager, and indirectly to Stephens.
Stephens' own remarketing team in Southfield will help Chrysler Canada standardize its remarketing policies and procedures. The Southfield team also will take charge of support services for Canada, such as advertising and production of an auction calendar beginning in April.
Chrysler Canada also will begin selling vehicles online to its franchised dealers using an Internet system DaimlerChrysler has used since May 1998. DaimlerChryslerdirect.com currently offers dealers vehicles from several U.S. auctions.
In April, Chrysler Canada will begin a pilot program where it will list vehicles for sale at Manheim's Toronto auction on the Internet site.