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.
Jeep continues to crucial to Fiat Chrysler’s growth in Europe, according to July and August sales figures released today by the ACEA (the European automobile manufacturers’ association.
Jeep sales rose 139% in July and 113% in August, even as total registrations fell 34% from July to August (which is typical). Jeep is now, incredibly, Fiat Chrysler’s second-largest brand in Europe.
The tally was an all-time summer sales record for Jeep in Europe. Jeep sales have now grown for 22 consecutive months.
Jeep had the highest year-over-year growth of any brand in July, but came in second to Jaguar in August. Jeep still owns the highest growth rate over the eight months ended in August.
Over the two month period, 12,171 new Jeeps were registered, up 128% from the 5,339 sold in the same period last year. The Renegade dominated with nearly 60% of total sales, and is already one of the top ten small SUVs in Europe.
FCA delivered 115,016 vehicles in July and August, 15% over last summer. Year-to-date, FCA registrations are up 13%. The industry, as a whole, grew by 10% for the two-month period and 9% for the first eight months of the year, over 2014.
Without Jeep, Fiat Chrysler’s year-to-date growth would have been under 7%, lagging behind the industry and its home market alike.
Jeep remains the best-selling SUV brand in the in the fastest-growing market segment – and the lead is growing.
In August, Jeep had its best sales month ever. Americans bought or leased 80,804 Jeeps, giving the brand a 13.4% share of the crossover/SUV market. Sales rose 17.5% compared to August 2014, and share increased by 0.8%. The Cherokee, Compass, Patriot and Wrangler all set new records.
Based on August and year-to-date deliveries, Jeep has three models in the top ten in the crossover-and-SUV segment, more than any other brand. The Wrangler is still the best-selling traditional SUV, and the Grand Cherokee is the best-selling SUV in its class.
Last year at this time, Jeep was 7,090 sales ahead of second-place Ford for the month, and was 14,420 sales behind Ford for the first eight months of 2014. This year, Jeep was 11,727 sales ahead of Ford for the month, a 65% increase, and 55,477 deliveries ahead of the “blue oval” for January-August.
FCA still trails General Motors in total crossover/SUV sales, but last month it chopped GM’s lead by 42% compared with August last year. For the first eight months of the year, GM’s lead has been slashed by 35%.
The crossover/SUV segment continues to outpace all others. In August, sales were up 10.5% compared with 8% for pickups and declines of 6% for vans and 11% for passenger cars. Since January, cars have lost 320 basis points of their market share; and 280 of those went to crossovers and SUVs.
With fuel prices likely to remain moderate, America’s appetite for utility vehicles will probably remain strong, and it looks like Jeep will remain America’s favorite utility brand. Some of that will depend on how much the public likes the new Jeep Compass, and changes to the Cherokee and Wrangler.
Quietly, as Sergio Marchionne attempted to rally the capital markets to his side in a fight to talk with General Motors, and the 2016 cars and engine updates were released, FCA provided sales figures for the US, Canada, and Mexico. In the US, as previously noted, sales rose by nearly 2%. But what happened in the #2 and #3 markets for the former Chrysler Corporation?
News in Canada was, as usual, good, though not as good as usual, with an incredibly slim 0.4% increase — that’s exactly 101 cars and trucks, including Fiat and Alfa Romeo (without the Fiat brands, Chrysler would have scored 275 sales over August 2014). Even though the increase was small, it was still enough to keep Fiat Chrysler in first place among manufacturers, 349 deliveries in front of Ford for the month and 15,280 sales for the year.
The big winners in Canada, taking volume into account, were the Cherokee, rising 70% to 3,469, and the Journey, shooting up 50% to 3,020. Ram pickups, the best selling line, fell by 10% to 6,911. Dodge Caravan fell by 11%. Overall, cars were down, light trucks were roughly even, and SUVs shot up. Dodge led with 8,555 sales, followed by Jeep (7,853), Ram (7,307), Chrysler (2,768), Fiat (445), and Alfa Romeo (27).
In Mexico, the biggest sellers were the Dodge Attitude (Mitsubishi Mirage), Dodge Journey, Ram 1500-5500, and Ram 700 (Fiat Strada). Seven Darts and ten 300s were sold, making even ProMaster sales (45) look healthy.
Fiat, with nine models, managed 832 total sales, mostly the 500 (375 sales) and Uno (340). Mitsubishi, distributed by FCA, boasted 1,280 sales, led by Mirage. Including Mitsubishi, FCA Mexico had a major sales gain over last August, when they distributed Hyundais instead.
Many analysts were almost certain that Chrysler FCA US, LLC would sell fewer cars in the US during August 2015 than it had during August 2014, due to a less than ideal placement of high sales days. KBB in particular wrote that the former Chrysler Corp. would sell fewer cars in the US, breaking a 64-month-long winning streak.
They were wrong. The streak is now 65 months long.
Sales rose from August 2014’s 198,379 units — a massive increase over August 2013 — to 201,672, a 2% increase and the best August sales since 2002.
Credit Jeep, which posted an 18% increase, and Ram, which rose by 6% — with the pickup rising 4% and ProMaster up 91%.
August records were set by the Jeep Compass (up 58%, for its best month ever), Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Patriot, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Journey, Ram pickup, and Ram ProMaster van.
FCA US finished the month of August with 74 days of inventory (571,290 units).
Sales of the Chrysler 200 were up 30% in August, riding on incentives, but Chrysler brand sales as a whole fell by 14% due to low minivan sales. Town & Country was not produced for around three months starting with the beginning of the year, and it took
time to restock dealerships.
Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com predicted that Fiat Chrysler’s 64-month streak of year-over-year growth will end with August, and that the calendar is the killer.
In 2014, Labor Day was on September 1, so the strong holiday weekend sales were included in August’s results, giving Fiat Chrysler a nearly-20% jump in new light vehicle sales. This year, Labor Day is on the seventh, meaning September gets the bonus. Thus, Kelley’s predicts a 3.2% fall in volume despite a hefty year-to-date increase; the site also predicted that industry sales as a whole would be 4% lower, so FCA would still gain market share. The primary exception they predicted was Ford, which has finally ramped up F-150 production and distribution.
Actual August sales for North America will be reported on Tuesday.
FCA US has been selling more cars at retail in the United States but fewer in Canada, according to Richard Palmer during a presentation today.
The Canadian retail sales drop was likely due to a shortage of the low-margin Dodge Caravan minivans, which are best sellers in the nation which builds them. Sales in both countries were up overall and the former Chrysler Canada is currently the #1 automaker in Canada, partly because Ford has been seeing falling sales.
FCA US is clearly still heavily dominated by the United States, with relatively little sales elsewhere. Canadian sales along dwarf all other countries outside North America.
Regarding brands, Jeep is the largest in both volume and growth, while Dodge is still feeling the loss of the Avenger. New product for Dodge is rumored to be on the way, though Mr. Palmer did not comment on this.
The Chrysler brand saw some growth and is soon to be getting a new compact car, the Chrysler 100, according to previous announcements. Ram also continues to grow, and is currently responsible for around one and a half times as many sales as the Chrysler brand — something which would have stunned Chrysler leaders as late as Lee Iacocca. Fiat is barely measurable in comparison, partly due to continued low fuel prices.
FCA Canada continued its record streak of year-over-year growth with a 2% increase over July 2014, marking 68 consecutive months of sales gains.
The former Chrysler Canada also set a new record for year-to-date sales that goes all the way back to 1925.
July sales totaled 28,611, compared to 28,007 vehicles sold in July 2014. Sales for the first seven months of 2015 came to 176,743 and keep FCA Canada in the lead as the country’s top automaker.
According to estimates from Desrosiers, a Canadian automotive consultant, FCA Canada’s year-to-date sales are now almost 10% ahead of second-place Ford. FCA’s market share rose 0.3% to 16.1% while Ford’s has declined an entire percentage point to 15.3%.
Jeep set a new July record in 2015, marking its 17th consecutive month of growth. The Cherokee was the most popular model with sales up 78% to 3,426, a record. Sales of the Patriot rocketed up 192% last month.
Ram, the brand, and Ram pickups set new records, with sales up 17% for both.
Crossover/SUV sales were up 18% in July, and are the hottest growth segment in both Canada and the US.
Sales of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan were down 15% last month: reasonable considering that Windsor is still trying to fill the pipeline after the long shutdown and summer break.
Total light truck deliveries increased to 28,820, a gain of 9% compared to July 2014. For the first seven months of the year, they are up 3%.
Car sales fell sharply last month, down 46% from last July. The Dodge Charger bucked the trend with sales that rose 44% and sales of the Challenger were flat. For the year so far, car sales are off 10%.
FCA México hit 9,009 sales for July 2015, 24% over July 2014 and the best July since 2009. This was the first month in 2015 that sales were well and clearly above the same months in 2012-14, but much of that was due to sales of Mitsubishis and rebadged Fiats.
Dodge sold 2,889 cars and crossovers, up by 39%, but the “rebadged” Attitude was responsible for 1,452 sales (a record). Various “real Dodges” all had increases in sales but from a fairly small base.
Ram sold 1,922 trucks, 86% over July 2014. Ram 700, the rebadged Fiat, was responsible for 680 of those sales and took 40% of its segment.
1,761 Jeeps were sold; Grand Cherokee hit 423, Wrangler hit 268.
Chrysler, the brand, sold 304 cars. Fiat sold 818 cars, 30% better than in July 2014 and their best July ever; nearly half (400) of these were Fiat 500s, up 16%. Fiat Uno posted an 85% gain, its best sales month ever. 23 Alfa Romeos were sold, marking the best July in its Mexican history.
Mitsubishi, whose distribution is handled by FCA, hit 13 consecutive months of double-digit increases with 1,292 sales, 12% over July 2014. 409 sales were Mirage, 350 were L200 (which set an all time retail record). MMM’s sales year to date were 46% over YTD 2014.
FCA US sold 178,027 cars, SUVs, and light trucks in July, a 6% increase that exceeded analysts’ predictions.
Last month was the best July since 2005 and the 64th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth.
Sales of Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram brand vehicles rose by 7% over July 2014, led by a 23% jump in Jeep sales.
Car sales were nearly 22% of total deliveries, down slightly from a year ago. So far this year, cars have made up nearly 26% of all sales, up from 24% in the first seven months of 2014.
Total crossover/SUV sales rose 22%, with the addition of the Fiat 500X. The new Renegade outsold the Compass for the month.
Jeep remained the best-selling SUV brand last month. In year-to-date sales Jeep is 43,750 sales ahead of second-place Ford.
Minivan sales were down 33% compared to last July and sales for the January-July period were off 45%, partly due to a long factory shutdown.
Eight vehicles set July sales records. The Chrysler 200 led with an 85% improvement, the largest of any FCA vehicle, partly driven by higher incentives. The Dodge Challenger, Dodge Journey, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, and Ram ProMaster also enjoyed record July sales. FCA US finished the month of July with an 563,809 units of inventory, an 82-day supply.
Ford reported its second quarter financials yesterday, and Fiat Chrysler reports them tomorrow. While Ford impressed Wall Street with record profits and its best financial statement since the turn of the century, its performance on US dealer lots was lackluster, especially compared to Fiat Chrysler.
FCA’s sales volume grew by 5.9% in the second quarter of 2015. Chrysler brands rose by 6.6%, twice the rate of the total market.
Ford, on the other hand, grew at just over half the industry rate and even that took a double-digit improvement in Lincoln sales. While the industry grew by 3.3%, the Ford brand only grew by 1.3%.
In short, FCA US gained market share; Ford lost it.
The difference between key vehicles for the two companies is even more pronounced. Every Mopar other than the Dodge Charger and Jeep Grand Cherokee easily outpaced the industry, while every Ford came up short.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
While Fiat Chrysler is unlikely to report profits on the scale achieved by Ford, and the company has to deal with a $70 million fine and $20 million in potential buyback costs, there should be some good news for investors tomorrow.
Kelley Blue Book’s July sales forecast says Jeep will drive Fiat Chrysler to another month of year-over-year growth, which would make 64 consecutive months of growth. Alec Gutierrez of “KBB” wrote, “Jeep has set monthly records for the past 20 months, and Jeep has grown nearly 40 percent of Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales numbers. With the Cherokee more popular than ever, and the increasing availability of the new Renegade, July should be another month of double-digit growth for Jeep.”
FCA’s predicted 4.4% growth would be the strongest of the Detroit automakers and second only to Nissan among the major car companies.
The market continues to play to Jeep’s strong suits: compact and mid-size SUVs and crossovers. Total compact and mid-size SUV sales growth is forecast at about 10.5%: compact SUVs and crossovers are predicted to see growth in the range of 13.4%.
Data Source: Kelley Blue Book
Automakers close the books on July at the end of this week. Results will be reported on Monday, August 3.