DETROIT -- Alone among carmakers offering incentives to lure disgruntled Toyota customers, Chrysler Group failed to report a sales gain in January.
In fact, Chrysler reported an 8 percent drop last month from January 2009 -- which itself was a devastating month in which sales plunged 55 percent from January 2008. Two years ago, Chrysler sold 137,392 cars and trucks in January. In January 2010, the company sold just 57,143.
Major carmakers offering incentives to Toyota customers included Ford Motor Co. (sales up 25 percent in January), General Motors Co. (up 14 percent) and Hyundai Group (up 13 percent).
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been determined to rein in incentive spending, and the company has shown more discipline. In January, the company spent an average of $3,061 per vehicle, less than either GM's $3,103 or Ford's $3,095, according to Edmunds.com.
Some dealers say Chrysler should be spending more to boost sales while the company prepares replacements for such vehicles as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and develops new, Fiat-based models.
After Toyota announced its recall of eight models over reports of sticking accelerators, Chrysler initially announced it would not offer incentives to lure Toyota customers. But the company changed its tune Friday night and rolled out some incentives on several vehicles.
Chrysler slashed dealer inventory 52 percent from January 2009, from 359,980 units a year ago to 172,803 this year, or a 73-day supply.
The Dodge Journey crossover was one bright spot in the picture, with sales up 55 percent from a year earlier to 4,790 units.