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Chrysler beats Honda for No. 4 sales spot

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler February sales, while still down sharply, were more than sufficient to beat Honda for the No. 4 rank among the major automakers. They also beat industry analyst estimates by a significant margin. Jesse Toprak of had predicted a 53 percent shortfall while Brian Johnson of Barclays Capital called for a 55 percent plunge. Closest to the actual figure was Patrick Archambault of Goldman Sachs who was off by just one percent at 45 percent. Archambault was the most optimistic of the seers.

The top automaker in U.S. market share remained General Motors, whose 126,170 vehicles sold (18%) beat the bottom eleven companies combined – which includes Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes, Subaru, and Mitsubishi. A distance behind GM was Toyota, with a 16% share; they were the only other automaker to make six figures. Ford came in at #3 with a 14% share, Chrysler with a 12% share, Honda with a 10% share, and Nissan with 8%. Nipping at Nissan’s heels and breaking the “every new rank is 2% less market share” pattern was Hyundai, whose sales were around 1,600 vehicles less than the company formerly known as Datsun, one of the original Japanese imports. Hyundai and Nissan combined nearly matched Toyota’s sales.

Other automakers, led by Volkswagen with a 3% share, were a good distance behind, and sold at most 18,382 vehicles. Mitsubishi had a mere 4,484 sales, Isuzu limped along with just 350, and Maserati came in with a decent showing at 65 units.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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