DETROIT -- Stressed-out Chrysler group dealers are worried about bloated truck inventories, high incentives and cuts in ad spending. Just last week, they learned they'll be dealing with a new leadership team in the corporate sales office.
The departure of two veterans -- Gary Dilts, 56, vice president of U.S. sales, and Raymond Fisher, 53, vice president of sales, service and parts operations -- took some dealers by surprise.
The company said both will retire July 1.
"Gary was probably the finest example of a guy who could take the corporate goals and knit them with the dealer goals so both of us could be successful," said Cass Burch, owner of Cass Burch Chrysler Dodge and Jeep in Quitman, Ga.
"No matter how challenging the agenda, no matter how taxing the dialogue, at the end of the conversation, you'd know for certain that Gary Dilts' integrity was intact.
"He was absolutely a straight shooter. The dealers will miss that a lot."
Filling the shoes of Dilts and Fisher will be Steven Landry, 47, who will take over as vice president of sales and field operations, and Michael Manley, 42, vice president of sales strategy and dealer operations.
Landry now is president and chairman of DaimlerChrysler Canada. He will remain chairman. A president will be named later.
Manley is vice president of dealer operations.
The two will report to Joe Eberhardt, executive vice president of global sales, marketing and service, who has been aggressively reshaping the Chrysler group's sales and marketing operations.
Some dealers believe Chrysler was due for a shake-up, even if it meant losing two trusted veterans.
Said Herb Chambers, owner of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships in suburban Boston: "What these guys are basically trying to do is fix their sales problem."
You may e-mail Bradford Wernle at [email protected]