Is Chrysler finally starting to get it?

Dodge Journey Pictures, Images and Photos
Chrysler is seeing a rise in sales of their crossover, Dodge Journey, as well as, other light trucks (Dodge Caravan and Jeeps) in Canada. According to a Financial Post article (click here to read it), they even beat Ford in this category. Does this mean they are finally beginning to understand how to build a good line-up of cars that people want to buy? Perhaps. Although, I think there is a more accurate reason behind this rise in sales in Canada.

Gasoline is too expensive in Canada. However, the economy is not doing too bad which means there is demand for “work vehicles”. This doesn’t necessarily only mean pick-up trucks like the Ford F-150, but also vehicles that have storage capacity like SUV’s, crossovers and minivans. At the same time, there are concerns over jobs and the job market in Canada is so-so (only good if you compare it to the U.S.). Compared to Ford and GM, at this moment Chrysler has an advantage. If you look at SUV’s, crossovers and minivans that are good on gas and are inexpensive, Chrysler happens to come out strong right now. The Dodge Journey is cheaper than the Chevy Equinox and the Ford Escape (and much cheaper than the Ford Edge). In addition, the Ford Escape is extremely outdated and waiting to be replaced by a new and much more appealing crossover in a year or two.

This puts Chrysler in the unique position of stealing market share from Ford and GM, even though they are not making vehicles that are as good, quality wise. If gas prices begin to drop in Canada or if there is a sudden certainty about the job market, I think we will begin to see people choosing better and more expensive cars instead of Chryslers. In this scenario, the Ford Edge will be a big winner.

I don’t know if Chrysler timed the market and planned this situation or if they just got a little lucky. If this was planned, then they deserve a lot of credit for having great success while not having to invest too much in new and better vehicles. I suspect they will not tell us the truth behind this rise in sales.