At first glance, February 2013 Chrysler Group sales might look disappointing, especially with Sergio Marchionne’s warning that this might be the last month in a nearly three-year string of year-over-year sales gains. However, comparisons to both February 2012 and January 2013 provide a bit of very important context.
In terms of percentage growth, February 2012 was a tough month to beat. February 2012 sales skyrocketed 40.4% compared to February 2011. January 2013 sales were up 16.4% over the first month of 2012. Yet Chrysler beat last February by 4.1% and beat January by 18.1%.
Despite sales that were down 17.8% from last February, the Dodge Grand Caravan came back to claim the top spot in the minivan segment, beating the second-place Toyota Sienna by more than 1,200 sales. The Chrysler Town & Country outsold the Honda Odyssey to take the third spot in the rankings. The Sienna still has the year-to-date lead by 1,610 sales. Total minivan segment sales were down 7.8% compared to February 2012 but still tallied up a respectable 40,317 units out the door.
The Ram was surprisingly weak last month, considering the full-size pickup segment was up 17.4%, well ahead of the overall industry gain of 3.7%. Ram sales growth of 3.1% was the smallest improvement of any of the six competing truck lines. GM’s spiff-laden Silverado and Sierra boasted the largest gains.
In fact, in a month where light truck sales took 1.8% more market share than they did in February 2012, Chrysler truck sales were off 7.7%, weighed down by the Jeep Liberty and a big dip in sales of the Grand Cherokee. Factoring out the Liberty, truck sales would have been down just 1.6% and Chrysler Group’s gain for the month would have been 9.0%.
With all that, the Ram is still the No. 3 best-selling light truck, the Dodge Grand Caravan was No. 11 on the list and the Jeep Wrangler was No. 12 out of 131 models of crossovers, SUVs and pickups.
The Chrysler 200 (#17) and Dodge Charger (#19) made it into the top 20 best-selling passenger cars and the Avenger was just outside at No. 21. The Dodge Dart was No. 24 among 160 passenger car models reported by the automakers. The Chrysler 200 was the sixth best-selling American-badged car and the Charger was seventh. (Note: The rankings in the charts are for combined car and light truck sales.)
With the plunge in sales of the Chrysler 300, a Buick slipped by. The Enclave crossover came in 218 sales ahead of the big Chrysler sedan. However, the 300 did manage (again) to outsell every other Buick, every Cadillac (car, crossover or SUV) and the entire Lincoln range.
This month, we’re comparing February 2013 rankings with both February 2012 and January 2013. Manufacturers reported sales for 291 light vehicle models in February. Dodge Nitro and Ram Dakota were omitted because there were zero sales.
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