August 21, 2008,
Auburn Hills, Mich.
Dodge continues to move ahead and maintain its commercial market onslaught while further extending its bold, Ram-tough leadership and heritage into the commercial vehicle market.
“While continuing to conquer new territory and set new commercial standards, the commercial vehicle market remains a white-space opportunity for the Dodge brand,” said Mike Accavitti, Director – Dodge Brand Marketing. “Dodge has introduced six all-new vehicles since 2003 and we will continue to fill this space with bold, powerful and capable commercial-grade vehicles.”
In setting the new commercial standard, Dodge now offers a full line of Class 2-5 commercial vehicles. Led by three exceptionally powerful, capable and durable work trucks, the Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs – which compete in the Class 3-5 medium-duty segments – the brand’s commercial program is anchored by the Dodge Sprinter, the market’s top-performing full-size van, and the ultimate small business transport solution, the Dodge Grand Caravan cargo van.
“Delivering maximum uptime, dependability, capability, safety and increased savings, Dodge is continuing its commercial market onslaught with a barrage of product enhancements and upgrades intended to further improve an already great commercial line-up while better serving our business customers’ specialized needs,” said Accavitti.
Commercial Vehicles Are Natural Extension and Complement to Overall Business Strategies
For Dodge, the commercial market is a great example of capitalizing on adjacent opportunities while serving as a natural complement to a strategic objective of extending the business by investing in new products that cover new segments. Beginning with the 2003 introduction of the Dodge Sprinter – which delivers the segment’s best overall value and most best-in-class advantages, Dodge made its return to the commercial market. Then, in returning to the Class 3 segment, Dodge set the new commercial standard with the all-new Ram 3500 Chassis Cab which quickly achieved a 29 percent market share in less than one year, surpassing the historic leader Ford and leading the segment in four out of the past six months of 2007.
In addition, last year Dodge extended its reach into the Class 4 and 5 medium-duty markets with the all-new Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs which offer best-in-class fuel economy that is 14 percent better than comparable Ford models and 23 percent better than Chevy and GMC. Dodge continues its climb in the medium-duty segment and has achieved a 16 percent share of the Class 4 and 5 retail market in less than one year.
Dodge Breaks Through Industry Decline and Showcases Half Year Mark Growth
Industry-wide, Dodge is a distinct bright spot this year leading all other manufacturers with Class 3-5 half-year growth of 132 percent versus the same six-month period in 2007. For Class 3, Dodge grew 102 percent and for Class 4-5 is up 100 percent. In total, through the first six months of 2008, Dodge increased its retail market share to 21 percent for the Class 3-5 segments.
In 2007, Dodge sold 33,500 commercial vehicles, a 285 percent increase over 2003 when the company returned to the commercial vehicle market. Through the first half of 2008 Dodge sold 20,177 commercial vehicles, a 123 percent increase over the same period in 2007. Dodge is now firmly entrenched as the fourth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles sold in the U.S.
With Best-in-class Fuel Economy, Dodge Ram Chassis Cabs Continue Upward Climb While Extending Ram Leadership to Class 5 Commercial Trucks
With the 2007 introduction of the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs, Dodge’s Ram-tough heritage and legacy now extends into the Class 5 medium-duty segment. Boasting best-in-class fuel economy and low ownership costs, Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs have carved a 16 percent retail share of the Class 4-5 segments.
This success follows the prior introduction of the Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab which, after being in the market less than one year, quickly bolted to the forefront capturing the number-one ranking in U.S. retail registrations and market share from the perennial leader, the Ford F-350, in the Class 3 conventional chassis cab market. Through June 2008, Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab maintained an average retail market share of 27 percent.
Delivering maximum uptime while showcasing dominant commercial-grade capability, durability and dependability, Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs feature numerous class-leading attributes and are the ultimate chassis cabs for commercial customers looking for dynamic, capable work trucks. Targeted at small-business tradesmen, fleet customers and traditional chassis cab users, Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs are formidable anchors to Dodge’s commercial vehicle lineup.
Dodge Sprinter Continues Reign as Market’s Top-performing Full-size Van
With its 2003 introduction, the Dodge Sprinter completely changed the standard for full-size vans. Through July 2008, Dodge sold 9,501 Sprinters, representing a 21 percent increase over the same period last year.
In addition to class-leading fuel economy and lowest ownership costs, Dodge Sprinter offers the segment’s most best-in-class advantages, world-class quality, innovations, design and performance, comfort and safety, and builds on Dodge’s rich commercial heritage, bolstering the company’s position as a leading player in the commercial vehicle market. Beyond its appeal to a wide range of customers in traditional and niche market vocations, Dodge Sprinter has quickly become a preferred vehicle of choice embraced by the market’s major courier companies including FedEx, UPS and DHL.
Fleet Elite Latest Service Program for Commercial and Business Customers
In addition to great commercial vehicles, also supporting the company’s commercial market success are innovative customer offerings including a new national dealer program, Fleet Elite. With a goal of providing a world-class dealer experience to Fleet and Fleet Management Company (FMC) accounts and customers, Fleet Elite is a dealership certification program that is designed to ensure that business customers receive enhanced service and support with specialized facilities, staffing and processes to meet their specialized needs. Leveraging the Five-Star certification process, target dealers are selected based on their volume of courtesy deliveries, “fleet-friendly” practices and expertise with the company’s coveted Five-Star program. Fleet Elite certification is awarded to select dealerships that have demonstrated that they are focused on treating and retaining fleet customers as they would a retail customer. Combined with other initiatives including “On The Job” and Dodge BusinessLink, dedicated commercial programs help deliver a superior service experience to business customers.
“By offering one-stop shopping for all of our customers’ passenger vehicle and commercial transport needs, we continue to solidify our commercial strategy and maintain our mandate of offering the best light- and medium-duty vehicles on the market,” said Accavitti.
U.S. Commercial Vehicle Market
The U.S. commercial vehicle market is defined as all vehicles sold to businesses, organizations and individuals who use their vehicle primarily for business purposes. Two subsets further define the market – dealer commercial sales of one to 49 units and large fleet sales of 50 or more vehicles. Over the past seven years, sales to small business have made up approximately 15 percent of total new vehicle sales.
In the Class 3-5 segments, a total of 261,809 vehicles were sold in 2007 representing 165,896 Class 3 vehicles, 50,991 Class 4 vehicles and 44,922 in Class 5 with forecasts for continued growth. Class 3-5 vehicles have a gross vehicle weight range between 10,001 lbs. to 19,500 lbs.
Dodge Commercial Vehicles
Since its return to the commercial market in 2003, Dodge has introduced six all-new commercial vehicles. Along with the Dodge Ram 2500 Box-Off and the Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs -- the Class 3-5 segments’ most powerful, capable and upfit-friendly work trucks – the Dodge Grand Caravan cargo van complements a growing Dodge commercial lineup that includes the class-leading Dodge Sprinter. Dodge maintains a collaborative partnership with Daimler AG, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles.
Launched in 1999 and offering no-cost enrollment, Dodge BusinessLink is a full-service commercial program comprised of a select network of Dodge dealers who know and understand the unique vehicle needs of small businesses, fleet managers and other commercial vehicle customers. Providing exclusive benefits, BusinessLink dealers offer unprecedented business assistance including dedicated commercial account managers and sales teams, dealer inventories representing a higher mix of work-truck and other commercial vehicles, next-bay service and technicians, extended hours to minimize downtime, free loaner vehicles and more. BusinessLink also includes Dodge’s “On The Job” program which offers discounts on upfits and direct cash incentives and savings on almost all Dodge commercial vehicles.
With a U.S. market share of 6.2 percent, Dodge is Chrysler LLC’s best-selling brand and the sixth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2007, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market.
The Dodge brand’s first crossover vehicle — the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey — arrived in dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2008, and is now available outside North America in petrol and diesel powertrains in both left- and right-hand drive. The limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that boasts 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque started hitting the streets this past spring. Later in 2008, Dodge will add three more vehicles to its product lineup – the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram with game-changing exterior and interior design, innovations, best-in-class features and craftsmanship; the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger, a modern interpretation of the American muscle car; and the 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid, a hybrid electric vehicle that combines fuel-efficient advance hybrid technology with full-size SUV performance and capability.
Last fall, America’s best-selling minivan, the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, was introduced with 35 new or improved features including the newest innovation, the Swivel ’n Go™ seating system. In 2007, Dodge sold 33,500 commercial vehicles, a 285 percent increase over 2003 when the company returned to the commercial vehicle market and is now the fourth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles sold in the U.S. Also in 2007, the Dodge Avenger and Nitro entered key volume segments outside North America, joining the Dodge Caliber, the highest sales volume vehicle for the company outside of North America.