Ram-Share-Web

IHS Automotive recently released the results of a study showing that the race for market share is becoming tighter over time. IHS says this is good for consumers because automakers have to fight harder for every sale.

The IHS study covered the 21st Century starting with the year 2000 and compared the shares of the major players in that year to their positions as of October 2014. IHS based their numbers on registrations instead of manufacturer reported sales.

U.S. Market Share for Leading New Vehicle Manufacturers
Manufacturer 2000 Manufacturer 2014*
General Motors 28.20% General Motors 17.60%
Ford Motor Company 24.10% Ford Motor Company 14.70%
DaimlerChrysler 15.70% Toyota Motor Sales 14.50%
Toyota Motor Sales 9.30% FCA US LLC 12.70%
American Honda 6.70% American Honda 9.40%
Nissan Motors America 4.30% Nissan Motors America 8.60%
Volkswagen of America 2.50% Hyundai Motor America 8.10%
Hyundai Motor America 2.30% Volkswagen of America 3.30%
Data Source: IHS Automotive *As of October 2014

One of the problems with such a comparison is that it’s not so much apples to apples as it is apples to aardvarks.

DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors have significantly different product lines today. Long gone are Plymouth, Mercury, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn. Ford divested itself of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo while GM dumped Saab. The Daimler is gone from Chrysler and Fiat has been added. The Daewoo name is gone: they’re now called Buicks and Chevrolets.

Rather than attempting to equalize the companies as they existed in 2000 with what they have become, Allpar opted to compare individual brands and to extend the comparison to November 2014. The only adjustment made was recombining the Dodge and Ram brands.

In all, excluding niche brands like Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Bentley, there were 28 marques that were on the market continuously in the period 2000-2014.

As might be expected, Toyota gained the most share, up 4.08%, followed by Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Honda and Subaru.

Jeep was No. 7, with a share increase of 1.34% to 4.19% of the total U.S. light vehicle market. The next-largest gain for an American brand was GMC, which came in at No. 18. GMC added just 0.08% to its slice of the pie. Every other American brand lost share with Ford down the most.

Market-Share-Change-Web

Dodge/Ram was third from the bottom but that was primarily due to shrinkage at the Dodge brand: the Ram pickup is a different story altogether.

Ram’s market share has increased more than any other full-size pickup. In fact, Ram’s market share as of the end of November is 2.88%, its biggest piece of the pie since 1999.

In 2000, Ram was 1.27% behind the Chevrolet Silverado. Today, that difference has been trimmed to just 0.56%.

Pickup-Market-Share-Web

If the Ram pickup’s December sales equal its November numbers, 2014 would be the truck’s best year since 2003 and quite possibly the second-best sales year in Dodge/Ram pickup history (certainly the second-best year since 1996).

With Jeep on track to hit a million or more worldwide sales, an all-time record, and Ram poised to post some of the best numbers it’s had since Dodge started making pickups, it’s well worth digging past the headlines to get to the real story.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger is having its first recall, for around 11,600 cars made through October 8, 2014; instrument cluster problems could cause gauges to fall to zero and the theft alarm indicator to light. The number of cars affected is currently unknown. Recall P74 began on December 15, and involves a software upgrade only.

The pickup truck recall affects 2005 Dodge Ram 1500s made from January 28, 2004, to August 3, 2005, and involves an undersized spline on the pinion gear which can cause the rear axle pinion nut to loosen and the rear axle to seize, resulting in a loss of control. The recall, #P77, involves adding a retention device to the pinion nut. This recall should begin around February 13, when parts are available; around 257,000 trucks are affected.

The NHTSA investigation noted that there was little or no warning prior to the lock-up. Seven incidents occurred at speeds of 50 mph or greater, two causing the pickup to go into a spin.  There have been 15 complaints overall, a failure rate of around 0.006%.

Finally, in a recall that seems to be entirely about public relations, Chrysler is recalling over three million vehicles (2.9 million in the US alone) that have Takata driver’s-side airbag inflators. The company specified:

Neither FCA US, nor Takata Corporation, the supplier, has identified a defect in this population of inflators. These components also are distinct from Takata inflators cited in fatalities involving other auto makers.

More than 1,000 laboratory tests have been performed on these components. All deployed as intended, but FCA US continues to study the suspect inflators, which are not used in the Company’s current production vehicles.

Outside of Florida, one of the areas covered by the original action, no FCA US vehicle has been linked to an air-bag deployment of the type that has raised public concern. Nevertheless, the Company is replacing the Takata components tied to that concern.

The former Chrysler Group said a single injury was appeared to be tied to the airbags, in southern Florida; however, in a past release, Chrysler said that they were unable to access that airbag for analysis due to an ongoing lawsuit. The recall includes the following 2004-07 model-year vehicles:

It will take time to make replacement parts, and the company will notify customers when they can schedule an appointment. Priority is being given to customers in areas with persistent, high humidity.

The 2015 Chrysler 300 is sold in four trim lines — Limited, 300C, 300S and 300C Platinum — with the 3.6L Pentastar V6, the 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, and rear wheel drive standard across all models. This engine and transmission combination delivers 292 horsepower and up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway in the Limited, 300C and 300C Platinum, while the 300S packs 300 horsepower and the same EPA ratings.

300 series

Buyers who demand more power can opt for the 5.7L Hemi with 363 horsepower, an option which will set you back $3,000 and drop fuel economy while requiring midgrade fuel; but 0-60 sprints are not all that much faster. Advanced all wheel drive can be added to any 2015 300 for $2,500, but as with the 2015 Charger, you cannot get all wheel drive with the Hemi.

The base model, the 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited, comes with an impressive list of standard features which includes the 8.4 inch infotainment system, a new 7 inch information display and large analog speedometer and tachometer (similar to the gauge package on the Dodge Charger), heated leather seats and 12-way power controls up front, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, LED daytime running lights, a capless fuel filler door, an acoustic windshield and more. There is a long list of standard features, with a total cost of $32,390 (including the $995 destination fee).

Chrysler expects the 2015 Chrysler 300 Limited to account for roughly 45% of 300 sales, since it includes most of the features customers want with an attractive base price.

Next up is the 2015 Chrysler 300S, which continues to be the sportiest of the big Chrysler sedans (save for the 2014 SRT — and, possibly, a to-be-announced 6.4 liter 2015 300-something). The 300S wears unique black accents across the exterior, 20 inch Hyper Black wheels, unique dual exhaust, sport-tuned suspension setup (improved upon from the previous year), Sport shift mode for lightning quick shifts, sport front bucket seats in black or black-and-Ambassador-Blue, backup camera, remote start, nine speaker Beats audio, and most of the standard features from the 300 Limited.

chrysler taillights

With the 3.6L Pentastar V6, the 300S starts at $35,890 (including destination) and buyers who pay the additional $3,000 for the Hemi will also get a low profile rear spoiler and unique side sills. Chrysler expects that the 2015 300S will account for about 35% of the product mix while drawing in the youngest buyers.

The 2015 Chrysler 300C also builds on the 300 Limited, adding standard 18 inch polished wheels, chrome mirror caps, a dual pane panoramic sunroof, the higher end 8.4 inch infotainment system, an Alpine premium audio system, heated and cooled (front only) Nappa leather seats, 360 degree heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and other features. Even with this long list of standard luxury features, the 2015 300C starts at just $38,890, and the company expects this package to account for abut 15% of sales.

Finally, we have the 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum. This is a premium luxury package whose standard features rival the best from across the pond, building on the 300C and adding Platinum Chrome exterior appointments, a uniquely tuned suspension, 20 inch polished aluminum wheels, Sport mode, paddle shifters, quilted Nappa leather seats, a leather instrument panel, French accent stitching, natural pore wood interior trim, and either black or Indigo/Linen throughout the cabin.

The 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum starts at $43,390, and given the premium pricing (and sales of the prior Luxury and Varvatos editions), the company expects this top of the line package to account for roughly 5% of sales.

Jeep-Renegade-Roadto2018-Web
The new Renegade is already having an impact on Jeep’s international sales figures.

Now in its third month on the market, the Renegade posted 1,549 deliveries in October, 7.9% of total Jeep deliveries outside of the NAFTA region. The Renegade’s share of November international sales rose to 10.4% with 2,491 registrations.

According to Ariel Gavilan with FCA US LLC, the Renegade is sold primarily in Europe, so the impact on Jeep’s outstanding November results is significant. International automotive industry analyst JATO Dynamics noted: “Jeep more than doubled its sales compared to November 2013 on the back of an excellent month for its Renegade and Cherokee models.”

Gavilan went on to say the Renegade is an ideal vehicle for the European, Chinese, and Latin American markets. In addition to the main production site at the FCA plant in Melfi, Italy, the Renegade will be assembled in Brazil for Latin America.

New mysteries are appearing around the next Jeep Compass, which one source claimed would be produced in Toluca, Mexico, rather than its home of Belvidere, Illinois.

2015 jeep compass

Another source said that, rather than being a CUSW car like the new Cherokee, it would be based on the Jeep Renegade. This is on the same platform as the Fiat 500X, which allowed Fiat to put in more engineering time for both vehicles — but many changes were made to allow Renegade Trailhawk to have the torsional rigidity and clearance needed for the Jeep nameplate.

Either body could be justified as a choice, and in both cases, Jeep was able to overcome many of the problems of using a car platform for off-road use.  Renegade did disappoint many by not laying a claim to crossing the Rubicon trail, or Chrysler’s replication of it; Compass might or might not be able to do this. Cherokee has, according to both official and unofficial sources, passed this bar.

The new Compass, regardless of underpinnings, is expected to be a four cylinder only vehicle, most likely with a nine-speed automatic in the United States, and Grand Cherokee-like styling (echoing the current model, shown above).  We believe it will use the 2.0 liter Hurricane engine, most likely as an option, along with the current 2.4 four-cylinder. For markets outside the United States, the usual insanely wide range of Fiat engines is expected — Brazilian engines based on the old Neon 2.0, MultiJet diesels, and the 1.4 and 1.4 turbo Fiat gasoline motors.

At this time, Allpar has no firm indication of Compass’ platform or factory location. The launch appears to be around two years away.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger has earned a five-star overall safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency’s highest possible safety rating.

The Challenger is the only car in its segment with Forward Collision Warning (optional). It also has blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection, which was pioneered by Chrysler Group.

Challenger scored five stars in front and side impacts, four stars in other tests. The car starts at $27,990, including destination charge. The 2014, without any eight-speed automatics, still had Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value Award and three years of winning J.D. Power’s APEAL Award for overall ownership enjoyment.

The 2015 added a segment-first eight-speed automatic transmission, Uconnect Access system, standard 7-inch gauge cluster display, and touch entry with push-button start.

Last month, the Challenger recorded its best-ever U.S. November sales total with 4,157 deliveries, 52% over November 2013.

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