FCA US’ November sales could be a close call, according to one analyst, calling into question the company’s ability to hit 68th consecutive months of growth.
KBB’s Tim Fleming predicted that FCA US would sell 171,000 cars and trucks this month, just 161 more than the company sold in November 2014. Fleming wrote that sales will increase by just 0.1%, and market share will be essentially flat.
Jessica Caldwell, the lead analyst for Edmunds, gave FCA a bit more breathing room with a 5,800-unit margin and a tiny bump up to 13.3% in share.
Eric Lyman of TrueCar was the most optimistic, predicting over 179,000 sales, a nice 4.8% increase but just a 13.2% piece of the pie as his crystal ball shows much more growth in total industry sales.
Another difference between the three analysts is whether this will be Chrysler’s best November since 2001 or since 2000, when then-DaimlerChrysler racked up 184,065 sales in the Maxwell-Chrysler-FCA US all-time best year for U.S. sales. [That was Chrysler’s best year; the best November was in 1999, with 194,716 deliveries.]
Beating the numbers is becoming costly as the market is shrinking, despite economic growth and car loan terms that are starting to look like mortgages.
To keep factories running, incentive spending is rising almost across the board. TrueCar estimated that the average indudstry-wide incentive per vehicle will pass the $3,000 mark in November — and that FCA US is spending an average of $3,573 on every car and truck sold. That’s 12.6% higher than November 2014 and slightly higher than October 2015.
Unlike most months, where either FCA or GM is the big spender, FCA is actually spending less than Volkswagen Group, which is offering extremely low-cost leases to move the metal as more evidence of cheating is uncovered. FCA is also nearly $200/vehicle behind General Motors and even a few bucks behind Nissan.
The biggest spenders are BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which are duking it out to see which one will take the luxury crown this year. Both BMW and Mercedes are spending more than $4,600 per vehicle.
The table below is an average of the forecasts from Edmunds, KBB and TrueCar.
It’s now been two years since Jeep began its meteoric growth in European, and the numbers are impressive. Last month’s sales grew by 70% from October 2014, to 7,439; since the beginning of the years, driven by the wildly successful Renegade, Jeep has seen 146% growth. The Renegade has hit a sweet spot as Europeans are switching from traditional sedans to crossovers and SUVs, with 45,000 sold so far this year.
Jeep registrations increased in all the the major European markets: 102% in Italy, 10% in Germany, 124% in France, 113% in the UK, and 135% in Spain.
The U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe combined saw 864,490 Jeep sales. As Allpar reported previously, it’s not a matter of if Jeep will repeat its million-sales-year; it’s a matter of when.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ total European sales rose by 7.7% in October, outpacing the industry. Fiat brand sales increased by 8.6% to 70,556 cars and light trucks. The Fiat 500L, which has been marginal in the U.S., is the most popular small MPV in Europe.
Sales of FCA’s premium brands, Ferrari and Maserati, were up by 20.5%.
Lancia continued its long, slow decline, with sales down 30% in October, aided by a planned restriction to Italy; Alfa Romeo actually sold more vehicles than Lancia last month. Alfa Romeo sales were down by 8.9%, but should be higher next October with the Giulia added to the mix.
Lancia and Alfa Romeo made an important contribution: the volume they added boosted Fiat Chrysler past General Motors for the month.
Alone among automakers selling in the US, FCA US saw the percentage of cars it sells at retail, versus fleets, drop from October 2014 to October 2015.
The company still gained retail sales (to the tune of a 12.5% increase), but fleet sales increased more quickly (up 21.6%), according to Automotive News.
Ford (with Lincoln) remains the most fleet-heavy company, with 72% of its sales going to retail customers; FCA US is #2, with 74%. General Motors takes up the last “under 80%” share with 77% of its sales at retail. The only Asian automaker under 89% was Hyundai-Kia, which also had the largest gain in fleet sales — 36%.
Every one of the top seven automakers posted higher retail sales; Nissan’s fleet sales dropped.
Early in the morning of January 5, 2015, Allpar spread the word that worldwide Jeep sales had reached one million in 2014.
This year, the question isn’t whether Jeep will pull off a repeat: it’s whether Jeep can hit a million sales in November, or how far past a million Jeep will get in 2015.
FCA’s hottest brand in the U.S. (and fastest-growing brand in other markets) continues to make a splash around the world. The new Renegade, now being produced in a new plant in Pernambuco, was just named “Car of the Year” in Brazil, where it’s already the best-selling SUV.
Paul W. Smith of Detroit radio station WJR interviewed Pontus Häggstrӧm, CEO of FCA Japan, on the opening day of the Tokyo Motor Show (listen to the interview here*). Jeep is the top-selling U.S. vehicle brand in Japan, and Häggstrӧm said the Wrangler is the top-selling Jeep model. The Cherokee was voted one of the top ten cars last year, becoming the first American vehicle to make the list. The Swedish executive said he hopes the Renegade, just introduced to Japan, will be another top ten winner.
During the presentation of the most recent five-year plan, Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley noted that worldwide Jeep sales hit 85,000 in April 2014, an all-time record for monthly volume. Just over a year later, in May 2015, sales in North America hit 90,825. Add another 7,558 for Europe and the four markets saw 98,383 Jeep sales, 16% more than the entire world just a year earlier.
Through the end of October, Jeep has delivered 791,376 new vehicles in North America. It’s the top-selling SUV brand in the U.S., with a 13% share of the crossover/SUV market that includes 25 brands.
Last month, Jeep sold 12,775 more utilities in the U.S. than second-place Ford; for the first ten months of the year, Jeep is beating Ford by 81,248 sales.
Number one is a great position to be in; number one in the fastest-growing market segment is even better. In October, the segment grew more than four percentage points to 38% of total sales, second only to passenger cars with a 41% share.
Sales are also up 12% in Canada, though they are off by 10% in Mexico.
October Jeep sales in North America were up 30% compared to October 2014, and year-to-date deliveries have grown 22%.
In the past couple of years, Jeep has gotten about 17% of its total annual sales in the last two months of the year. Using that as a guide, Jeep may come tantalizingly close to a million sales in North America alone — about 950,000 sales between the three countries.
Adding in the latest European Union numbers (September), Jeep hits the million mark with room to spare. Factor in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, and Jeep could get close to 1.2 million sales this year.
*Thanks to Marc Rozman for the tip about the Paul W. Smith show.
After beating the Toyota Sienna to the top spot in the minivan segment by 41 sales in September, the Dodge Grand Caravan staked a much stronger claim in October.
Dealers delivered 12,094 Dodge Caravans last month, 1,639 more than the Sienna. The Chrysler Town & Country advanced from fourth place in September to second place in October, 877 sales ahead of the Sienna.
Caravan sales were up 21% in the U.S. and 5% in Canada. Town & Country deliveries were up 4% in the U.S., 53% in Canada, and down 27% in Mexico (the Caravan isn’t sold in Mexico). Total North American volume was 16,095 for the Dodge and 11,991 for the Chrysler.
The long retooling shutdown at the Windsor plant is still handicapping the Chrysler minivans, year to date. The Caravan and Town & Country are fourth and fifth in U.S. year-to-date (YTD) standings, behind the Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and even the Kia Sorento, and that’s how they’re likely to finish the year.
The two vans combined still beat the “sales leaders” by a large margin. Working against the Chrysler twins is separate branding: the Dodge and Chrysler split FCA US sales down the middle so that neither minivan is a leader by itself, year to date.
In Canada, the Grand Caravan’s October market share was more than 60%; its YTD share is almost 60%. 4,001 Grand Caravans were delivered in October, more than the 950 Siennas, 750 Odysseys, and 391 Town & Countrys combined. It makes one think the Grand Caravan should continue in Canada past the upcoming redesign.
FCA México delivered 8,558 new vehicles in October, the best October sales volume since 2010 and the tenth consecutive month of year-over-year growth. Chrysler brands accounted for 6,500 of those sales. Dodge took the lion’s share with total sales of 2,539 cars and light trucks; Ram was next in line with 1,832, a 34% gain.
The Dodge Attitude (a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage) set a new October sales record, while the Ram 700 (a rebadged Fiat Strada pickup) set an all-time sale record last month.
Jeep dealers reported 1,767 deliveries, bringing the October North American total to 81,837 for the month and to 791,376 for the first ten months of the year.
Alfa Romeo had its best month since it hit México, with the MiTo and Giulietta both gaining ground, selling 26 cars.
Mitsubishi branded cars and pickups were up by 48% in October, marking 16 consecutive months of double-digit gains for the brand — not including Dodge Attitude sales (the Attitude is a Mitsubishi-badged Dodge).
FCA Canada sold 22,384 cars and trucks in October 2015, 81 more than last year — a tiny increase of 0.4%, but still the best year-to-date sales in the company’s history and good enough to keep FCA as the top seller of new vehicles in Canada so far this year.
General Motors had a very good month, though, took first place for October.
Jeep sales rose 12% year to date; Cherokee recorded a 43% gain over last October. Wrangler hit an October record with a 10% gain. The new Renegade’s sales were tiny at 312, but above September by 19%.
Ram went up 8% over last October, hitting a new October sales record of 7,502 trucks, including 523 vans.
Year to date, FCA has now sold over a quarter million vehicles in Canada, 1% over the same period in 2014. Year to date, Ram pickups and the Ram brand are both up 9%, Cherokee is up 41%, and Jeep is up 12%.
For the month, Chrysler brand sales plummeted (save for Town & Country), Dodge sales were roughly steady despite a huge loss in Dart sales, and Alfa Romeo managed 12 sales of its sole model, the 4C. Fiat sales fell nearly in half despite the launch of the 500X and the Pope’s ride in a 500L.
FCA Canada appears to have had a 2015 that is extremely similar to 2014, unlike its gangbuster improvements in the United States. However, its market share is far higher “up North,” as the #1 seller of cars; Dodge remains the dominant force in minivan sales and Ram is second only to Ford in trucks.
FCA US (Fiat Chrysler) delivered 195,545 cars and light trucks in the U.S. in October, 15% over last October and a gain of 1.3% from an impressive September. It was the best October since 2001.
FCA US notched its 67th consecutive month of year-over-year sales improvements, with all brands reporting higher sales. Jeep gained its 25th consecutive month of improvements, with an increase of 33% driven by the new Renegade and record sales of the Compass and Patriot. Every Jeep except the Grand Cherokee posted a double-digit improvement.
The Dodge Challenger reported its ninth sales record of 2015: sales were up 31% for the month. The Journey set its seventh sales record of the year as increased 37%. Total Dodge brand sales were up by 12%. Ram, too, had its best October since 2003.
Cars which set new October sales records were the Jeep Patriot (up 56%), the Jeep Compass (42%), and the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Journey, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler and the Ram ProMaster.
The company finished the month with 625,092 vehicles in inventory, an above-average 90-day supply.
Chrysler fans are in for a treat, barring any tricks: analysts at Edmunds and Kelley’s Blue Book predicted that FCA US will report its best U.S. October sales since 2001, along with a 67th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.
Since the month ends on a Saturday, October sales figures won’t reported until a week from today. However, October is shaping up to be another good month for the auto industry.
J.D. Power/IHS Automotive foresees total sales of 1,384,000 cars and light trucks, up 8% from last October. Retail sales will make up 83% of total sales, slightly down from September, but ahead of October 2014. J.D. Power has upped their full-year forecast to 17 million light vehicles.
Jessica Caldwell at Edmunds and Alec Gutierrez at Kelley Blue Book are both more bullish on the industry, looking at better than 1.4 million sales for the month, a 12% improvement.
On average, analysts wrote that FCA will report 192,657 U.S. sales for the month, a 13% improvement over last October and just 363 sales behind September 2015, which was an exceptional month. Market share should rise slightly to 13.5% as FCA outpaces industry sales growth of 11.7%.
An 84.5¢ drop in average fuel prices, compared to October 2014, continues to play to Fiat Chrysler’s strength. Compact-to-midsize crossovers and SUVs are still the hottest segment, projected to jump 29.1% compared to last October and to take 26.8% of total sales.
The area in which Fiat Chrysler is weakest, compact cars, is projected to have the lowest growth, about 3.5%, of any of the major market segments. Mid-size cars, like the Chrysler 200, are in better shape, but are still slightly behind the overall market.
Jeep looks to be on its way to another million-sale year. Counting just the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Western Europe, the leading brand of SUVs had racked up about 774,000 sales at the end of September. Given a good October and a strong finish to the year, Jeep could hit a million sales in just those four markets.
[Note: “DSR” in the chart above is “daily sales rate,” which averages each month’s sales per business day. October 2015 has 28 selling days while October 2014 had 27. This is why the DSR percentage is lower than the percentage change in sales volume.]
FCA’s retail sales went up more than its fleet sales once again, according to Automotive News. Industry-wide, retail sales also grew more than fleet sales.
Under Daimler and Cerberus, Chrysler increasingly relied on fleet sales to keep sales numbers from collapsing. In the last six years, its retail sales have increased dramatically, but FCA and Ford are now even in the percentage of retail sales — with Ford likely having a larger share of high-buck pickup sales.
At GM, retail sales went from 78% to 81% of total sales; Ford stayed the same while FCA moved from 75% to 76%. Toyota and Hyundai-Kia sold a higher proportion of vehicles to fleets, though.
Some fleet sales are good — selling pickups to small ranches, luxury cars to small businesses — but some are less profitable, especially large at-or-below-cost deals with rental fleets. Some fleet sales are likely done primarily for visibility (e.g. police cars) or to keep plants running at capacity.
Canadian sales are not simply American sales times 0.1; the country has different tastes, and tends to buy different cars. As one example, the Dodge Caravan used to be the nation’s top seller.
Within FCA — Canada’s #1 automaker despite a less than ideal September — Ram is currently the best selling brand, driven by the pickups (72,144 year to date), followed by Dodge, with 65,809 sales, then by Jeep with 60,573. In both countries Chrysler is a fairly small seller, in Canada trading 19,825 cars and vans — with the 200 being the top seller (up 14%) followed by Town & Country (down 6%) and 300 (down 1%).
Chrysler fell 12% from January-September 2014, when it was the sales leader, beating Ram, which is up 9% so far this year. Jeep is up by 12% and Chrysler by 3%. Fiat, with a mere 4,820 sales, is down by 29%.
Among particular cars, the Ram series is the leader with 72,144 sales. Caravan follows at 34,782, then Cherokee, also the best selling Jeep in the US for September, at 23,161. Dodge Journey comes in at 19,156, handily beating Jeep Wrangler at 16,865, despite all that lovely tundra, farmland, and undeveloped northern acreage.
There is then a huge jump to the Chrysler 200 at under 9,000 sales, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee coming in at roughly the same number, followed by Patriot and Town & Country before the numbers suddenly fall again, with Dodge Charger topping the laggards at 3,877 year-to-date. Then it’s 300, Duranog, Compass, Dart, Challenger, and ProMaster before we reach the under-2,000 club, the ProMaster City, Ram Cargo Van, Viper, and, yes, leftover Avengers.
The ordering of particular models may change; the numbers are relatively small for many of the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram line, so there tends to be strong fluctuation year to year. It will be interesting to see if the current sales order continues through to the end of the year, and whether the former Chrysler Canada can keep its sales lead over GM and Ford through to the end of the year.
FCA was #1 in SUV sales in U.S. September sales, according to industry analyst and writer Bill Cawthon. It beat #2 General Motors by 1,782 sales, thanks in large part to Jeep, which is riding a “high.” Historically, Willys Jeep and then Kaiser Jeep as a whole rarely achieved the kind of sales now routinely established by the brand’s lowest-selling current models.
In America’s favorite segment (based on top selling models), full size pickups, Ford has solidified its lead with nearly 70,000 sales in September alone — but doesn’t match Chevrolet+GM sales of 73,479. Meanwhile, Ram trails with around 36,600 pickups, 14 less than in September 2014.
Toyota took a much bigger hit. When it launched the Tundra, engineered largely by Americans (veterans from the Big Three), Toyota assumed it would rival GM and Ford and kill off Dodge, so they set up two huge assembly plants. Years later, the makers of the least capable, least efficient pickup sold 10,057 Tundras, down 15%. The Nissan Titan sold around a tenth of the Tundra’s number.
Ram has no midsize pickups, in a market dominated by Toyota (16,230 Tacoma sales) and General Motors (7,334 Colorados and 2,332 Canyons). Nissan sold 4,617 Frontiers sold for the month. Year to date, GM has already sold over 85,000 midsize pickups while Toyota has moved over 122,000.
In full-size commercial vans, the established brands are generally doing well, with Ford dominating as usual — carrying over 10,000 sales of its almost new Transit. Chevrolet’s Express followed with around 6,700 sales, and Ford’s traditional E-series was next with around 4,000. Ram ProMaster, arguably the best van in the segment, came in at 2,483 — up 76% from last September, when it beat the Transit. The good news for Ram is they beat the well-established but pricey Sprinter (by around 165 vans), and the Nissan NV (by around 1,000).
In the compact van market, the picture was similar. Transit Connect dominated with 3,852 sales, more than the similar Nissan NV200 and Chevrolet City Express (1,400 and 1,024) combined. ProMaster City, an import, followed with 861 sales.
FCA Canada reported its best year-to-date sales since 2000, with September 2015 at 24,007 cars and trucks sold (1% over the same month in 2014). It was enough to maintain FCA’s role as #1 automaker in the country, year to date.
While Ram sales were fairly steady in the United States in the face of gains by Ford and GM, they shot up by 28% in Canada.
Jeep rose by 12%, with Cherokee leading — as in the US. 2,823 Jeep Cherokees left the lots, 31% over September 2014. Wranger rose by 7% to 1,922.
The company claimed record September sales for Ram pickup, Cherokee, Wrangler, and Ram as a brand; and a year to date record overall with 227,678 sales, around 2,500 more than 2014 YTD. Dodge Caravan rose by 8% while it sank in the US.
FCA Canada’s 2014 and 2015 sales have been remarkably similar, but nearly every month of 2014 was a large improvement over 2013 sales. The company has not had a sales drop in over five years.
Sales by model will be posted later. Overall, for September, FCA was #3 in Canada but kept its #1-for-the-year status.
Pent-up demand for pickups by Ford loyalists propelled the “blue oval” to a big gain in September, but Fiat Chrysler’s US growth was higher than most other automakers.
Every FCA US brand but Chrysler gained, with a total 13.6% gain over September 2014 (as for FCA as a whole, Ferrari gained one sale and Maserati lost 34%). At Ford, the monthly gain was 23.3% — though year to date, FCA US still has higher growth.
GM had a respectable 12.5% increase, Honda 13.1%, and VW-Audi 7.3%, but both were below FCA US. However, Toyota (16.2%), Mitsubishi (36%), Hyundai-Kia (17.8%), and some minor automakers gained share over FCA. The industry’s average gain was 15.7% over September 2014.
Volkswagen-Audi was an interesting case, with Audi apparently untainted by the “Volkswagen diesel” scandal. Media professionals may be to blame for this, since they consistently refer to “Volkswagen” as having faked numbers, not Volkswagen-Audi. Audi sales grew by 16% while Volkswagen held steady with a 1% gain.
FCA US LLC reported U.S. sales of 193,019 units last month, 14% above September 2014 (169,890 units), — the 66th consecutive month of increases and the best September sales since 2000.
Every brand other than Chrysler itself posted gains, with Jeep bursting forward by 40%. FCA’s gains, which came at some cost in incentives, were matched by some of its rivals: Ford rose by 23% with revived F-series sales (and incentives), GM came in 12.5% ahead, and Nissan rose by 18%. (At press time, we were awaiting Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Toyota.)
Analysts predict that every company other than Volkswagen-Audi will have higher sales.
The Dodge Journey and Jeep Cherokee each logged an all-time sales record last month, with gains of 45% and 38% respectively. The Chrysler 200, Dodge Challenger, Jeep Compass, Jeep Wrangler, and Ram ProMaster each recorded their best September sales ever.
Within Jeep, only Patriot fell for the month, dropping 6% but still logging a 27% gain for the year; the Compass, ironically, rose 54% for the month, falling 2% for the year. Every other Jeep rose for the year, with Cherokee gaining by 26% to become the most popular Jeep by a large margin, for the month and for the year alike. Renegade outsold Compass for the month.
At Chrysler, the 200 was by far the sales leader, though sales were only up 3%. The big 300 had a 41% gain over last year; the car only logged 6,723 sales for the month, and was even with 2014 year-to-date. However, it has a higher profit margin than it used to, with no “stripper” version. Town & Country sales were 30% lower than in September 2014 despite inventory on lots.
At Dodge, the big gainer was Journey, which came close to matching Caravan for the title of sales leader — but this is likely temporary, as Journey was up 45% and Caravan was down 6%. A distant second was the Charger, despite having dropped 14% for the month. Challenger had a big gain (26%) but is still a minor player with 4,552 sales (it’s up 35% for the year, presumably riding on the Hellcat’s fame). Dart gained by 5%, Durango by 7%.
With Ford’s F-series now available at dealers, and getting hefty incentives (but also selling at higher overall prices), Ram’s primary lineup of big pickups and chassis-cabs registered ever-so-slighly lower sales for the month and a 3% gain for the year; Ram may be factory constrained at this point. ProMaster Van gained by 76% to 2,483 sales, while Cargo Van appears to be out of production (possibly temporarily, due to factory downtime) with just four sold. ProMaster City, an new import, saw 861 sales.
Fiat would have had a major loss if not for the arrival of the new 500X, which, despite being new, managed to more than triple the 500L’s sales. No Fiat managed to have sales approaching even a slow-selling mainstream Dodge, Chrysler, or Jeep.
At the end of the month, dealers held 76 days of inventory (590,503 cars, trucks, and vans).
Bill Cawthon noted that the share of sales held by traditional cars is now just 20%, down from 23% in September 2014; the crossover/SUV portion is 48%, up from 39% (not including minivans and vans, which fell from 16% to 12%). Pickups are nearly equal to cars at 19%. “Trucks/MPVs” in the chart below is, in essence, everything that is not a passenger car — such as Jeep Compass.