Chrysler's "sales bank," the loathed program in which the automaker continues to manufacture and stock cars regardless of demand, is supposedly back through the end of the year. Chrysler LLC co-President Jim Press delivered the news to dealers on Friday during a nationally telecast conference call when he mentioned that district managers will be calling dealers trying to offload 12,000 units of unassigned inventory.

Dealers left the call gasping for air, recalled the summer of 2006, when Chrysler had nearly 650,000 units in the sales bank. At the time, there was a 91-day supply of vehicles. Today, with about 400,000 units in inventory, the automaker is sitting on a 117-day supply. While Chrysler claims repeatedly that they only make cars that dealers order, and have reduced production to match market share and plunging sales -- down nearly 28 percent this year -- stocks are still up. Why? According to a second report by Automotive News, Press clarifies his statements to the trade pub, saying that the vehicles being hoisted onto retailers were all ordered by dealers and later canceled due to dealerships that have closed, unsold vehicles from sales promotions, fleet customers that backed out or buyers that weren't able to secure financing. Despite the fact that dealers supposedly ordered these vehicles with the intention of selling them, we fail to see how pushing 12k in unsold product doesn't constitute a "sales bank" program.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]