DETROIT -- The head of DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler group said on Wednesday it could boost its U.S. market share to 14 percent by 2006 from 12.8 percent in 2004.
"I see 14 percent as an achievable number for us," Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said, when asked whether the target, set several years ago as part of a Chrysler turnaround plan, looked attainable this year or in 2006.
"Our plans as far as volume is concerned, our expectation for the total market, should bring us to that (14 percent) region," he said.
Zetsche spoke after outlining Chrysler's business outlook to Wall Street analysts, at a Deutsche Bank meeting on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show.
Analyst David Healy of Burnham Securities called Chrysler's 14 percent goal "totally out of reach." He noted that many automakers tend to make lofty market share projections around the Detroit auto show.
With overall revenue per vehicle sold on the U.S. market averaging about $25,000, a tenth of a percentage point of share is worth roughly $425 million, according to Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler's executive vice president for marketing and sales.
Zetsche stressed that Chrysler has put a premium on profits over simply gaining market share.
Chrysler was alone among Detroit's Big 3 in gaining U.S. market share last year, thanks to a series of hit models such as the Chrysler 300. Even then, its U.S. market share grew by just 0.3 percentage point in 2004, from 12.5 percent in 2003.
The upcoming launch of the Jeep Commander, an all-new and rugged sport-utility vehicle with three rows of seats, is one of the products that could help Chrysler carve out market gains in the next year or two.