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Report: Chrysler Plans to Cut Back Support for its Dealers

October 9, 2003

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler is finalizing plans to find savings in retailer-support programs that benefit dealers, according to Joe

Eberhardt, Chrysler Group executive vice president of global sales and marketing, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

In an interview with Journal, Eberhardt

said he has been meeting with dealers for input and that the initiative could include changes to the way the company currently structures

advertising, product launch and incentive programs with dealers. He did not provide any other details or identify any specific cost targets, the Journal said.

For months, Chrysler has been intensifying cost-cutting initiatives to offset spending on incentives. "We're working very hard to turn it

around," Eberhardt said, according to the Journal. The outlines of the plan have already upset some Chrysler dealers who think the company is coming after their profit

margins, the Journal noted.

In recent years, both General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have backed off after angering dealers in fights over money and other retailing issues. Chrysler has 4,200 U.S. dealers.

In the interview, Eberhardt also responded to dealers and people within the company who have described his management style as "Joe's Way or the Highway." "I'd like to think that whatever we do is focused to meet objectives," Eberhardt said, according to the Journal. "If it's standing up there and talking about stuff that

doesn't mean anything, no, that's not me."

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