Following an interview at company headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, Chrysler Group Chief Operating Officer Tom LaSorda was off to Chicago to visit dealers and attend a Jeep dealership “Premiere Night” showcasing new vehicles.
He says he's been spending more time with dealers since becoming the No.2 executive at Chrysler six months ago.
What are dealers telling him?
“They want more of everything we can't give them,” he says, citing two new vehicles with hot sales — the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum.
It doesn't hurt to ask.
“If a dealer never asked for new product, then they wouldn't be doing themselves a favor,” says LaSorda, whose contact with dealers is part of a greater corporate effort to foster better retailer relationships.
Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealer satisfaction ranks below industry averages.
Nevertheless, LaSorda says: “The relationships are much, much better. The access to leadership is much, much improved with all of us, and I like being around those guys. They are all entrepreneurs…It's neat to mix with some of the most successful business people in the country.”
But LaSorda self-effacingly jokes about nearly wearing out his welcome by becoming too involved at a Chrysler dealership during a Premiere Night.
“I was telling a customer I could get him a good deal, a great deal, if he bought two Crossfires. The dealer said to me: ‘Don't you have another dealership to go to?’”