DETROIT Sparked by huge price reductions on PT Cruiser sedans, the Chrysler group shows an average price increase of only $25 on 2005 models announced last week.
That figure will grow. The Chrysler group disclosed stickers on 68 percent of its 2005 models last week. Still to come are the numbers for Dodge Ram pickups, the groups best-selling and most profitable line; and the Jeep Wrangler. (See Late News for 2005 Grand Cherokee prices.)
The pickups account for 19.5 percent of the Chrysler groups sales, and the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee account for 12.1 percent. The groups average increase will rise when those nameplates are folded in.
Prices of the four sedans in the PT Cruiser stable were slashed big-time $2,555 to $4,190. Some content was removed for example, air conditioning is no longer standard on the base PT Cruiser sedan and there was plenty of soul-searching and market analysis at the groups headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.
The 2005 PT Cruiser starts at $13,995 including destination, compared with $18,080 for 2004.
The Chrysler group said it analyzed the small-car market to determine the content most desired by customers, and some equipment formerly standard is optional to give a better price point to our customers.
The analysis and its rather drastic results are in line with Chryslers efforts to fight profit-killing incentives at the factory instead of the customer. The company made similar price reductions on its minivans last January, and later cut the tags on its new Pacifica sport wagon and Crossfire coupes and roadsters.
For 2005, Chrysler will offer all-wheel drive on its two popular new cars, the Chrysler 300 sedan and the Dodge Magnum station wagon. The 300 with awd starts at $29,995, and the Magnum with awd is priced from $28,525. The prices include destination. Here is a summary of the price action to date on the Chrysler groups 2005 models: