DETROIT - Availability - and profits - will be slim this year for the 2004 Chrysler Crossfire.
It will be year end before every dealer selling the Crossfire receives at least one. Dealer profits will be squeezed by an $8,100 charge to sell the halo car.
The Chrysler group, which is opening the spigot slowly on the Crossfire, designed to move the Chrysler brand upscale. Only 8,700 units will be available in the U.S. market in 2003, says Marc Henretta, company spokesman. The car begins arriving in dealerships this week.
"The company is promising that every dealer who signs up for Crossfire will have one by the end of the year," says dealer Michael Faretta. "You might not make any money on the car when all is said and done. You may not make 10 cents on the car itself, but you will get people thinking about Chrysler. It is an image car."
The company says 1,850, or 63 percent, of the Chrysler brand's 2,946 dealerships are authorized to sell the Crossfire. Assuming 2,000 dealerships sign up, that is 4.4 cars per store.