Chrysler Corp. officials say that base prices of its 1991-model North American-built cars have been increased by 3 percent, or an average $37 per vehicle, to cover higher energy-related costs.
Spokesman Tom Jakobowski said prices on Chrysler's 1991-model minivans and Jeeps were also raised, by less than 3 percent, while prices on its other light truck lines were raised by less than 2 percent.The price adjustments by the nation's No. 3 automaker range from no change on several models to increases of about $50 on such models as the Plymouth Acclaim sedan and all Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler minivans, Jakobowski said.
Chrysler also raised destination charges by $20 on all vehicles because of higher transportation costs resulting from federal tax increases on fuel and higher oil prices stemming from the lingering Persian Gulf conflict.
The price increases, which took effect at once, come despite a weak overall U.S. vehicle market in which Chrysler's total U.S. car sales during 1990 declined nearly 17 percent from year-ago levels.
Such gains also will most likely be eaten up during showroom haggling in what has been a buyer's market for some time, analysts said.
"This gives them a slightly higher base to discount from," said David Healy, auto industry analyst with investment firm Barclays de Zoete Wedd in New York. "Import carmakers have been raising prices by a lot more because of the weaker dollar, so I guess Chrysler thought it could get away with this."
Late last month, Nissan Motor Co. raised prices by an average 3.5 percent for what the Japanese automaker called "adverse domestic and international economic factors."
Chrysler last raised 1991-model prices by less than 1 percent in October, although increases on its redesigned minivan models were considerably more. Still, Chrysler said the increases continue to be lower than those of most other automakers and well below the inflation rate.
In August, industry leader General Motors Corp. raised prices on its 1991-model cars by an average 2.3 percent, or $389 per unit. In September, second-ranked Ford Motor Co. raised prices on its 1991-model cars by an average 1.9 percent, or $306.