DETROIT - The new 2004 Chrysler Pacifica wagon will steal sales from the Chrysler group's minivans, industry experts say. But that's OK, says the company's highest ranking sales executive.
The new wagon will keep buyers loyal to the Chrysler group, and that's what counts, says Gary Dilts, Chrysler group senior vice president of sales. Advertising broke May 1 for the Pacifica, a six-passenger wagon that combines the attributes of a sedan, minivan and SUV. The vehicle could siphon as much as 10 percent of the Chrysler group's annual minivan sales, one automotive analyst says.
Early trade-in data suggest the Pacifica is raiding the Chrysler group's showrooms.
But analysts agree with Dilts. The Pacifica is helping the Chrysler group retain buyers who might have forsaken its brands.
"Cannibalizing from their own base isn't the worse thing that can happen," says Michael Flynn, director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation in Ann Arbor, Mich. "They are keeping customers they might have otherwise lost. In the long term, it may be better for them."