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The Next Generation FCA Salesman

BobbiBigWheels

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With the 5 year plan by FCA now out, I have been thinking more and more about FCA's clear deviation from its current position in the market, and how it will affect my livelihood - selling their product.

Since the loss of the Patriot/Compass twins, Chrysler 200, and Dodge Dart, FCA had left us dealers with no sub-$20,000 CAD new product to offer our very price/budget focused clientele. Even the Dodge Grand Caravan, which once offered a Canada Value Package for $19,998, is now over $23,000, 3 years later. We had heard for a while now how much Sergio Marchionne was focused on margins with our product, and that the removal of this excellent cost-to-entry actually saved FCA millions. Now it is clear that FCA is very much determined to be a "high-end" brand.

How does that affect us sales people?

In my locale, our sales are dominated by Ram trucks and Jeep product. To put it into perspective, of 117 units sold, 40 were Ram 1500s alone. Our average transaction per Ram 1500 was between $35,000-$55,000, including pre-owned Rams. Totally reasonable, and nothing we are not used to. Where I get a bit anxious is staring at a $80,650 MSRP 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie in my showroom currently. This 6 figure loan, which after taxes it nearly is, is not appetizing to the dealer, or the public. It is, however, a clear indicator of where FCA wants to take its brands.

Jeep has always sold at a premium price, and they can, there is a clear defined competitive advantage that Jeep offers in Off-Road capability. Ram has started to convey their differences, however, as a salesman I always thought they have missed the mark. Where Ram is truly different than the competitors is ride quality. No one else uses coil spring suspension in the rear, and I would like Ram to really lean on the fact that we sell the quietest riding, best daily driving, and best interiors on the market. The product is worthy of the $80,000+ CAD tag, however, the market may not know why.

Chrysler sales for us is simple - ex-rental Chrysler 300s, and a client comparing Pacifica to Sienna or Odyssey. The Pacifica is an excellent product, however, in no way shape or form does it being a "Chrysler" help itself. For us Canadians, an all-new Grand Caravan with the Pacifica grille swapped for a Dodge one would sell better.

We don't sell Fiats, but then again, neither does our autogroup's Fiat dealership.

I have come to the conclusion that our sales people need to be retrained to prepare for the shift in market focus by FCA. We are not a mainstream brand anymore, as we do not offer pricepoints that the mainstream can afford. I feel this will only worsen. We are going to be a lifestyle/luxury brand, and frankly, I do not know if dealers are ready for this change. Only time will tell.
 

Jared B

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It's definitely interesting hearing your insight on the subject. I have had similar thoughts on this from the "outside" as well, out of all the domestic automakers FCA products now have the highest cost of entry. I'm not talking about per segment, but to get the cheapest vehicle the company produces. We know that Ford will be getting rid of their sedans but just using right now as an example you can get into a base model Fiesta for $16,580. Over at GM a base spark starts at $10,095 while moving up to a Cruze starts at $16.395. The cheapest Dodge as you said is the Grand Caravan at $22,445.

The cheapest FIAT, the 500 starts at $16,245 and is closer competition the the $10k Spark than the $16k Cruze. Also if, you're not a FIAT studio you don't have those to sell anyways.

My question becomes with Ford pulling out of the car market and the possibility of GM axing many of its sedans will this gap close or will whats left from Ford and GM still undercut FCA products in price by a decent margin. Full disclosure I grabbed all those prices off manufacturer sites as the starting at price and they may not include any available incentives.

On the flip side, the Journey starts at $23,645 while Fords cheapest 3 row, the Flex starts at $29,799 and GMs cheapest 3 row, the Traverse starts at $38,300. We also do know that the Journey and the Flex are getting killed off and I imagine the new CUV coming for Dodge will command a much higher price than the outgoing Journey. The Explorer, Fords other 3 row starts at $34,899.
 

dreinecke

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Interesting prospective for sure.

I just had a friend (who pinches pennies like nobody's business) make his entire new car purchase online. The car was even delivered to his door from the next state over. He and I were talking and I'm wondering with the world of mobile apps, how much more people may move to this type of sales model in the future. After all, you don't walk into a store to buy XYZ gadget - these younger folks all go to Amazon. They certainly don't test-use the gadgets, so with cars, honestly, I think it could be the same. As society moves more towards transportation being an appliance and not an emotional purchase, this will probably be the norm I'd think. With younger folks doing everything online these days, talking to a sales person would be the last thing I'd think they'd want to do.

Now the issue: no low-priced "appliances" at FCA. My kids' Patriots were the last of those it seems. I'm about to purchased a used Patriot for the mother-in-law since I cannot find her a low-priced, new car at FCA and refuse to buy anything else.
 

redriderbob

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With the 5 year plan by FCA now out, I have been thinking more and more about FCA's clear deviation from its current position in the market, and how it will affect my livelihood - selling their product.

Since the loss of the Patriot/Compass twins, Chrysler 200, and Dodge Dart, FCA had left us dealers with no sub-$20,000 CAD new product to offer our very price/budget focused clientele. Even the Dodge Grand Caravan, which once offered a Canada Value Package for $19,998, is now over $23,000, 3 years later. We had heard for a while now how much Sergio Marchionne was focused on margins with our product, and that the removal of this excellent cost-to-entry actually saved FCA millions. Now it is clear that FCA is very much determined to be a "high-end" brand.

How does that affect us sales people?

In my locale, our sales are dominated by Ram trucks and Jeep product. To put it into perspective, of 117 units sold, 40 were Ram 1500s alone. Our average transaction per Ram 1500 was between $35,000-$55,000, including pre-owned Rams. Totally reasonable, and nothing we are not used to. Where I get a bit anxious is staring at a $80,650 MSRP 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie in my showroom currently. This 6 figure loan, which after taxes it nearly is, is not appetizing to the dealer, or the public. It is, however, a clear indicator of where FCA wants to take its brands.

Jeep has always sold at a premium price, and they can, there is a clear defined competitive advantage that Jeep offers in Off-Road capability. Ram has started to convey their differences, however, as a salesman I always thought they have missed the mark. Where Ram is truly different than the competitors is ride quality. No one else uses coil spring suspension in the rear, and I would like Ram to really lean on the fact that we sell the quietest riding, best daily driving, and best interiors on the market. The product is worthy of the $80,000+ CAD tag, however, the market may not know why.

Chrysler sales for us is simple - ex-rental Chrysler 300s, and a client comparing Pacifica to Sienna or Odyssey. The Pacifica is an excellent product, however, in no way shape or form does it being a "Chrysler" help itself. For us Canadians, an all-new Grand Caravan with the Pacifica grille swapped for a Dodge one would sell better.

We don't sell Fiats, but then again, neither does our autogroup's Fiat dealership.

I have come to the conclusion that our sales people need to be retrained to prepare for the shift in market focus by FCA. We are not a mainstream brand anymore, as we do not offer pricepoints that the mainstream can afford. I feel this will only worsen. We are going to be a lifestyle/luxury brand, and frankly, I do not know if dealers are ready for this change. Only time will tell.

The Laramie in my option for DT is the worse priced package. You can opt for a Limited or Laramie Longhorn for cheaper than you can with a fully-loaded Laramie. I doubt Laramie will be the glorified trim that FCA thinks it will be. I see more people in Big Horn Sports (especially the Black) than anything. I know you guys up there don't get the Sport models, but I have already seen a dozen Big Horn Sports around Metro Detroit.
 

Ryan

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The Laramie in my option for DT is the worse priced package. You can opt for a Limited or Laramie Longhorn for cheaper than you can with a fully-loaded Laramie. I doubt Laramie will be the glorified trim that FCA thinks it will be. I see more people in Big Horn Sports (especially the Black) than anything. I know you guys up there don't get the Sport models, but I have already seen a dozen Big Horn Sports around Metro Detroit.
That's true for all the trim levels, I think. You can get a fully optioned Big Horn for the price of a Laramie that would include all of that content and more as standard, just like the Laramie is more expensive when fully optioned than a Longhorn.

Even a fully loaded Big Horn is the same price as a base Longhorn...

Edit: To clarify, I don't see this as being too much of an issue. It would indicate to some people that there is too much overlap between trim levels, but I think that it just proves how many options Ram is providing for each type of customer. If someone is using their truck for work and wants nice features, they may be willing to pay more for a Big Horn than they would for a Laramie out of fear that the luxurious equipment would get damaged on the job.
 

Jared B

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I was completely dead set on a Laramie Sport, then found that optioned how I want it its within 1500 of a Limited optioned the way I'd want. That really had me thinking of going with the Limited as there are things about the Limited I prefer but still like the looks of the Laramie Sport better. Its kind of put me in a weird position.

I've decided I'm going in a different direction anyways but I could see how it could get a little difficult for some people. Like @Ryan said though it's not necessarily a bad thing.
 

Ryan

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I was completely dead set on a Laramie Sport, then found that optioned how I want it its within 1500 of a Limited optioned the way I'd want. That really had me thinking of going with the Limited as there are things about the Limited I prefer but still like the looks of the Laramie Sport better. Its kind of put me in a weird position.

I've decided I'm going in a different direction anyways but I could see how it could get a little difficult for some people. Like @Ryan said though it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Exactly. I'd prefer a Laramie Sport too, but by the time I'd add the 12" screen and everything I'd be at Limited price where I could get more content. Although I, too, like the body colored grille a lot better than the chrome, that could easily be remedied. I'd actually like to see a granite crystal Limited with body-colored bumpers and all the chrome wrapped black. That would be a sinister looking truck with a ton of features.
 

Jared B

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Exactly. I'd prefer a Laramie Sport too, but by the time I'd add the 12" screen and everything I'd be at Limited price where I could get more content. Although I, too, like the body colored grille a lot better than the chrome, that could easily be remedied. I'd actually like to see a granite crystal Limited with body-colored bumpers and all the chrome wrapped black. That would be a sinister looking truck with a ton of features.

FB_IMG_1526624461325.jpg

I've thought the same, getting a Limited with the body coloured bumpers and getting the grille color matched. The Limited interior is much nicer than the Laramie.
 

Jared B

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But then again I'd still want the Sport Performance hood which you can't get on the Limited.
 

devildodge

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Interesting take on the current situation. All I want is a cheap version of every vehicle and over the years MOPAR vehicles have been offered with strip down versions, but nowadays with tech and loans out to almost a decade people aren't paying cash for a base model no more...they want everything...and Mopar will give you just about anything these days.
 

UN4GTBL

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I drove a new Laramie yesterday:







It was just a quick drive at a "Ride & Drive" event, but I thought it was a great truck.

It had the 12" screen, and I don't know if I'm overly fussed one way or another on that just yet. It's too bad that Android Auto doesn't fill that screen...
 

Ryan

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I drove a new Laramie yesterday:







It was just a quick drive at a "Ride & Drive" event, but I thought it was a great truck.

It had the 12" screen, and I don't know if I'm overly fussed one way or another on that just yet. It's too bad that Android Auto doesn't fill that screen...
I drove a Longhorn the other day with the 12” screen and it was a bit much for me. Too many options and configurations while driving. I’d probably get used to it after having it for a while, but if I bought one I think I’d go with the 8.4” screen.

The rest of the truck looked fantastic. The Longhorn is a beautiful truck inside and out.
 

BobbiBigWheels

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I drove a Longhorn the other day with the 12” screen and it was a bit much for me. Too many options and configurations while driving. I’d probably get used to it after having it for a while, but if I bought one I think I’d go with the 8.4” screen.

The rest of the truck looked fantastic. The Longhorn is a beautiful truck inside and out.
Yeah I feel the same way. Being that the 12" does not offer a new function (aside from splitting the screen) it truly is a gimmick. A very sexy gimmick.
 

BobbiBigWheels

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I'm a sucker for such gimmicks.
And most people will be. Having something unique in the vehicle alone will allow us to sell it.

HOWEVER - I think that reason the 12" will be a non-negotiable is solely due to the fact that the freakin' price is already so high, why not pay an extra X amount more.
 

Jared B

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And most people will be. Having something unique in the vehicle alone will allow us to sell it.

HOWEVER - I think that reason the 12" will be a non-negotiable is solely due to the fact that the freakin' price is already so high, why not pay an extra X amount more.

Thats pretty much exactly the way I look at it. I look at it from a resale perspective too, most second hand buyers will want it in a high end truck.

I'm not paying ~80k and not getting it,thats for sure.
 

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