DETROIT -- The U.S. auto task force, which put Chrysler and GM through government-sponsored bankruptcies earlier this year, has asked consumer auto site Edmunds.com for data showing demand and incentives on the automakers’ vehicles.
The task force contacted Edmunds.com for help in sifting through the data and reports the government is receiving as it monitors the operations of Chrysler Group and General Motors Co., Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl told reporters today.
For instance, the U.S. Treasury officials said they’d heard that GM’s newly launched vehicles were performing well.
“My instinct was ‘Well, every launch vehicle looks really good. What you need is the relativity,’ ” Anwyl said.
The Edmunds.com data tracks demand for a vehicle as the weeks pass after its launch, along with increases in demand as incentives are raised or lowered. Each vehicle is compared with others in its segment. Strong-performing vehicles show high demand with low incentives, along with large increases in consumers’ interest when a small discount is added.
Demand is measured in “purchase intent,” as determined by consumers’ actions when researching on Edmunds.com.
Most of GM’s new vehicles, such as the Equinox, LaCrosse and Camaro, are showing good performance using those metrics, Anwyl said.
“The question is: Can that be sustained over time?” he said.
For instance, LaCrosse incentives increased by a little less than $1,000 from September to October, which resulted in a 10 percent increase in demand. But incentives on the Malibu, launched in late 2007, rose by more than $1,000 with about a 1 percent increase in purchase intent. That puts the Malibu in “danger territory,” Anwyl said.
Most of Chrysler’s vehicles are in the same situation. The Chrysler 300 saw a 1 percent increase in demand from September to October off about a $1,000 increase in incentives.
“The best way to move these numbers is to have a launch vehicle,” Anwyl said. But Chrysler won’t introduce a new vehicle until the refreshed Grand Cherokee debuts in the spring.
Said Anwyl: “They’re not in great shape.”