Chrysler to Cut Sales to Rental Fleets; Seeks Dip to 20 Percent

DETROIT – Chrysler LLC said it will reduce its dependence on sales to rental fleets to improve the reputation and residual values of its vehicles and hopes to get fleet sales down to 20 percent of the total, according to Competitors General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have been cutting their sales to rental fleets substantially.

Vice Chairman Jim Press, speaking during a conference call to discuss December sales, said the automaker has been reducing rental fleet sales, but said the move “will be more significant” in 2008.

However, Chrysler plans a “very small increase” in retail sales in 2008. Retail sales exclude sales to fleet customers, such as car rental companies. Chrysler will offer enhancements on a number of models without raising prices.

Chrysler reported a 0.5-percent increase in December sales to 191,423, driven by retail demand. Fleet sales were down in December.

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