Chrysler U.S. sales rose year-over-year again in February, but only by 4%, breaking an extraordinarily long streak of double-digit sales increases. Total sales were Chrysler’s best since 2008, at 133,521 vehicles. Dodge posted a 30% gain.
Chrysler’s results were in line with analyst estimates of about 4.4%.
Jeep sales did not increase, largely due to the end of Jeep Liberty production in mid-2012, and shortages due to the launch of a new Grand Cherokee and Compass. Factoring out the Liberty, Jeep sales would have been down just 1% and total Chrysler Group sales would have improved a much more healthy 9%. Sergio Marchionne said that March 2013 volumes may be lower than March 2012 due to launches of these vehicles and Ram Heavy Duty.
Eight vehicles set records in February, including the Dodge Dart, which rose 8% over January; the Dodge Challenger, with a 34% gain; and the Avenger, Journey, Patriot, Wrangler, 200, and 500 all set February records.
Ram pickup truck sales increased 3%; it was Chrysler’s top-selling vehicle in February, followed by the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Grand Caravan. Chrysler Group finished the month with a 71 days of inventory (413,989 units).
Dodge posted its 21st-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains with a 30% hike. The Challenger has been on a torrid sales pace for the last 13 months, setting nine sales records, including three all-time sales records, during that period.
Sales of the Light Duty Ram pickup increased 2% while Heavy Duty Ram sales were up 14%. The Ram 1500 diesel is due in the third quarter of 2013.
Chrysler brand sales were up 21% over January but fell 7% compared to the same month a year ago, despite strong gains with the Chrysler 200.
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