The Chrysler group plans to sell at least 85,000 certified used vehicles in 2002 and then as many as 150,000 next year.
Ray Fisher, vice president of fleet and remarketing at DaimlerChrysler, said he agrees with industry predictions that the certified used-vehicle market will swell to 1 million vehicles this year.
So 150,000 would be roughly equivalent to Chysler's share of U.S. new-vehicle sales, which was 13.8 percent for the first four months of this year.
Fisher said that within 60 days the company plans to introduce two programs to help dealers market certified vehicles, but he gave no details.
Fisher also wants to help drive certified used-vehicle sales with the Chrysler group's DC Select, a pilot program that allows dealers to buy ready-to-retail certified vehicles at wholesale auctions.
"What we're trying to do is build a good used-car strategy," Fisher said. "Our focus in the past has been predominately new vehicles. Used vehicles can do so much for building the brand and improving residuals."
The Chrysler group is the last major manufacturer to become a player in certified used-vehicle sales. The company began rolling out its certified used-vehicle program regionally in October and finished in March. DC Select began in October, too.
The Chrysler group sold 5,805 certified used vehicles in April, the first month for which the company reported those sales.
The program is open only to dealers who have earned a Five Star rating.
To qualify for certification, vehicles must be no older than five model years, have fewer than 65,000 miles and pass a 125-point inspection. Dealers pay the Chrysler group $395 per certified vehicle to cover warranty costs.
Fisher said dealers can make up to $1,000 more on a certified vehicle than on a comparable vehicle that is not certified.
Like the vehicles being offered under other manufacturers' certified used-vehicle programs, most of the automobiles sold by the Chrysler group dealers are late-model off-lease vehicles and program cars from rental companies.