With new products on the way, the Chrysler group told its dealers that it will continue to have aggressive sales targets in 2004.
Chrysler group executives told dealers at yesterday's make meeting that the target set each month for sales bonuses will not be decreased this year, despite increasing criticism from dealers that the figures are unrealistic and often unattainable.
Chrysler said with nine new or redesigned vehicles on the way, dealers should be able to make their targets, called the Market Planning Assistance.
But even some dealers who hit their targets last year said setting the bar too high is a disincentive in a tough economy.
"The MPA number we have to hit is higher than Ford and Chevy and, in some cases, instead of going after the conquest buy, it's causing us to have to compete against ourselves," said Mitch Connell, a dealer at Dodge Country in Killeen, Texas.
Connell receives $350 in bonus money for each vehicle sold if he reaches his target - or $32,000 in December.
One dealer, who asked not to be identified, said last year 50 percent of Chrysler brand dealers did not hit their MPA, "and now they're asking us to sell more vehicles than some of us have ever sold. It's impossible."
Ron Jelling, Chrysler-Jeep dealer council chairman, said new product will take care of the concern.
"The feeling is that MPA is a little bit of a problem, but the truth of the matter is that the numbers revolve around new product," he said. "It won't be an issue if people start hitting numbers. People who hit MPA like it. People who don't hit it, don't like it."
Chrysler also said dealers who sell non-Chrysler group vehicles at their stores won't be considered Five Star in the future. The stores must be stand-alone Chrysler group dealerships by 2006 to keep Five-Star status.