DETROIT — Tight credit has replaced high gasoline prices as the chief impediment to selling a new vehicle, top Chrysler executives say.
Deborah Meyer, Chrysler LLC's chief marketing officer, says dealers and consumers tell her "financing is the biggest challenge that customers have in the marketplace."
"We've seen customers adjust to the gas prices," Meyer told Automotive News. "But if you can't get the right kind of credit, you can't buy the car at all. I don't see a quick fix around the corner."
In a speech here last week to the Automotive Press Association, Chrysler co-President Jim Press said the availability of credit is "the biggest issue that we have as an auto company."
This headache is not limited to Chrysler. Mark LaNeve, General Motors' North American sales chief, estimates tight credit is costing GM 10,000 to 12,000 sales each month. In August, GM reported selling 307,285 new cars and trucks in the United States, down 20.3 percent from the year-ago month.
"Credit tightening is an industrywide problem," LaNeve said. "It is more acute for ourselves and maybe Chrysler and Ford than some of the Japanese competitors. It is something we have got to work ourselves out of."