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Two Cases of "Correction Allergy"
by Gualberto Ranieri
August 11, 2010 8:18 AM

Gualberto Ranieri
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications

Chrysler Group LLC

CASE 1: A recent story in a well-known automotive trade weekly incorrectly reported the number of nameplates that Chrysler Group LLC is offering in 2010.
I asked for a correction, but the publication refused, so I’ve decided to set the record straight here on our blog.

The publication “reported” we’re offering a total of 17 nameplates for 2010, but will boost that number to up to 25 by 2013, which, the story states, would make it difficult for dealers to manage all those models

The story’s premise is not even close. In fact, by the end of the year our product line will consist of 24 nameplates, as we said last Nov. 4th when revealing our 5-year business plan, not 17 as stated in the story.

Here’s where their math and the facts take different paths:

o We’ll soon be selling a new Dodge SUV and the Fiat 500. The reporter said those don’t count since they’re not currently in the market. 2010’s not over yet. We didn’t say, “24 nameplates by August.”
o They also didn’t care to count three other nameplates still in dealerships and available for sale: Jeep Commander, PT Cruiser and Dodge Viper.
o We sell three different types of Ram trucks: light duty, heavy duty and chassis cab. Sorry, they said, we’ll give you only one instead of three.

Even if we concede the Dodge SUV and Fiat 500 which haven’t yet arrived, that only brings the total down from 24 to 22 by the end of this year—not 17.
That means if we did increase the number of nameplates to 25 by 2013, that’s only 3 more over the next three years. In fact, using the correct number, 24, for 2010, means that reaching 25 by 2013 we’d hardly be posing a challenge to dealers to cope with a single new nameplate over three years.

All we ask is for accuracy in reporting. This publication’s math, not only doesn’t add up, it’s just plain wrong. Lately, it seems the specialty of that house.

….and on the subject of a growing allergy to accept corrections, a well established New York City-based broadsheet, citing an unnamed source close to the issue of dealer settlements, published a bogus average settlement number of $500 thousand. The actual average settlement was significantly lower than $100 thousand. They have thus far refused to correct because they think their source walks on water. Guess on the record statements from Chrysler spokespeople are nothing more than chopped liver.

Taking the above two cases can only lead us to conclude that accuracy, checking and understanding real meaning of figures is becoming a job for journalists that’s either more difficult, or less convenient.

Either way, we hope the allergy against corrections isn’t spreading. But most importantly, we hope accuracy prevails in the first instance.
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