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Chrysler Aims To Cut Three More Names By 2013
Wednesday, 3 June 2009 - 21:52

DETROIT Chrysler LLC aims to drop another three nameplates from its product lineup by 2013 in an effort to better focus its advertising and development spending.

Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press, in prepared remarks, said the auto maker will move from 27 nameplates in 2007 to 20 in 2013. Press is slated to defend Chrysler's move to cut 789 dealers during a congressional hearing Wednesday. The auto maker filed for bankruptcy April 30 and is working to merge with Fiat SpA (FIATY).

"This is just a target," Chrysler spokesman Rick Denau said Wednesday.

Chrysler sells vehicles under the Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler brands. It has already stopped producing the Dodge Magnum, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Crossfire and PT convertible.

"Fewer nameplates with better product and customer market coverage will help improve the overall return on our product capital investment," Press said. "This means that dealers need to have all three of our brands under one roof in order to offer a full range of products and to optimize their profit potential."

Press didn't disclose what other names may be dropped but speculation has focused on Chrysler's "sister vehicles." The sisters are built on the same platforms but sold under two different names.

They include the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger; the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans; Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango and the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty.

"Based on six major vehicle launches between 2005 and 2008, Chrysler incurred approximately $1.4 billion incremental costs to develop these multiple pairs of sister vehicles," Press said.

Press added that the auto maker spent $100 million alone in 2008 on two separate marketing campaigns to promote the redesigned Dodge Caravan and Chrysler minivans. Press said the company could have spent half the amount and generate about the same volume of sales.

Chrysler isn't alone in wanting to rid itself of names or brands. Ford Motor Co. (F) sold off its Jaguar and Land Rover brands and is currently searching for a buyer for its Volvo Cars unit. General Motors Corp. (GM) wants to dump its Saturn brand and said Tuesday it plans to sell its Hummer brand to the China-based Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd.

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