DETROIT -- Many Chrysler group dealers say they met tough sales targets in 2004 with the company's parade of new products. But dealers want easier goals in 2005.
At stake is a payout of as much as $500 for each new vehicle a dealership sells in 2005.
Since 2001, the Chrysler group has set an annual sales goal for each of its 4,100 dealerships. Because the goal is set store by store, it is unclear what overall increase the Chrysler group seeks.
Dealers argue that 2004 goals were especially aggressive because of product launches such as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum.
The company says the targets and per-vehicle payout are needed to build volume. But dealers argue that the practice creates a bidding war for sales among Chrysler group dealers.
"It makes all the Chrysler and Dodge dealers compete against themselves," says Allen Samuels, who operates nine Chrysler group franchises in Texas. "We are not competing against Ford, Chevy and Toyota. It is just crazy. And having these fire sales is not good for the brand."
But the Chrysler group's sales performance has been improving. Through October, sales have increased 3.1 percent to 1.84 million units. Share is up 0.2 percent to 13.0 percent of the U.S. light-vehicle market.