Editor's note: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly portrayed the position of dealer Tom Wilson.
Chrysler Group dealers would like more incentives. They'd like more new products, and they'd like to see some ads geared to product features and deals.
But dealers know the new Chrysler isn't going to give them those things now. So dealers who attended the Chrysler make meeting on Sunday are hunkering down, waiting for a wave of new products in the works.
And they seem to be willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt that a brighter future lies ahead. Chrysler engineers have been working on a line of new vehicles based on Fiat platforms. The redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the last vehicle to share Mercedes-Benz components, is due in May or June.
"This is an interesting franchise right now," said Paul Walser, owner of Walser Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Hopkins, Minn. "There are a lot of good things coming, but people are wondering about the journey between now and then. It's a bit of a survival game until the new product comes.
"We're playing defense. We've got our expenses where they need to be," said Walser, who has nine other non-Chrysler franchises. "Some dealers are pretty encouraged, and others are mixed."
One of those happy with what he heard was Tom Wilson, general manager of Keffer Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Charlotte, N.C.
"We are so encouraged about their direction that we have already drawn plans for a major facility expansion," he said.
Wilson feels Chrysler needs to do a better job telling its story.
"The biggest thing I felt is we haven't got our message out there. We've got some good things to say. We just need to say them a little louder."
Chuck Eddy, owner of Bob and Chuck Eddy Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Austintown, Ohio, and Chrysler's NADA representative, said Chrysler's transition is difficult for some dealers.
"Our buyers are loyal because of the deal," says Eddy, who sold about 1,200 new vehicles last year. "My store is geared for volume."