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Chrysler February sales shoot up 40.4%

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler’s U.S. sales totaled 133,521 units in February, a jump of 40% over February 2011. It was the Chrysler’s best February since 2008, easily outstripping even the most optimistic analyst forecasts.

Chrysler has posted 23 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains and nine consecutive months of sales rising more than 20%.

Chrysler brand led the percentage gains with a solid 114% increase. Ram pickup truck sales were up 21% in February, the truck’s 22nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

Sales of the Chrysler 300 were up 480% in February, the full-size sedan’s fourth-consecutive month with triple-digit gains. Fiat sales also set a new monthly high.

Both the Jeep® and Dodge brands posted year-over-year sales increases in February. All five Jeep brand models posted double-digit percentage sales gains, led by the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 47% increase. The three-row Dodge Durango SUV, the Dodge Journey full-size crossover and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan each posted year-over-year sales gains in the double digits. Only Dodge Caliber fell, and its deficit was made up by gains in the Compass and Patriot, made on the same assembly line.

Of the Ram light-duty truck sales, those with regular cabs posted the greatest percentage increase in February.

Both minivans had sales increases; Town & Country went up 22% to 9,621 (1,717 minivans), while Caravan sales rose by 20%, to 12,668 (up 2,113). This should help in their fights for the sales crown. Adding in January sales, Caravan is the clear intra-company sales leader with 20,762 sales versus 15,258 for Town & Country.

Some cars have left production over the past year. PT Cruiser had 401 sales in February 2011, Dakota had 1,650, Viper had ten, and Nitro had 1,969. Of these, Dodge sold 139 Dakotas and 931 Nitros. The drop was easily compensated for by other cars. These (and Caliber) were the only cars to show a shortfall.

Graphs courtesy of Stratuscaster except as marked.

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales and the Dodge brand, wrote, “A few years ago higher fuel prices were a major threat to our total vehicle sales whereas today those higher prices have become far less of an issue. We now have 13 vehicles with an EPA-rated highway fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon or higher, and six of those vehicles get 31 mpg or higher.”

Chrysler finished the month with a 66-days supply of inventory (354,928 units). U.S. industry sales figures for February are projected at an estimated 14.9 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).

Model Feb 2012 Feb 2011 Change YTD 2012 YTD 2011 Change
200 9,717 2,342 315% 16,724 3,130 434%
Sebring 0 658 -100% 0 1,352 -100%
300 7,670 1,323 480% 12,630 2,652 376%
PT Cruiser 0 401 -100% 0 743 -100%
Town & Country 9,621 7,904 22% 15,258 14,456 6%
CHRYSLER BRAND 27,008 12,628 114% 44,612 22,333 100%
Compass 2,780 2,267 23% 5,120 3,690 39%
Patriot 5,120 4,153 23% 9,086 7,605 19%
Wrangler 9,319 7,636 22% 17,215 14,080 22%
Liberty 7,369 5,896 25% 14,194 9,948 43%
Grand Cherokee 12,724 8,667 47% 23,407 16,279 44%
Commander 0 0 0% 0 96 -100%
JEEP BRAND 37,312 28,619 30% 69,022 51,698 34%
Caliber 1,847 3,445 -46% 2,996 5,857 -49%
Avenger 6,570 3,477 89% 12,267 5,794 112%
Charger 7,324 3,263 124% 12,861 5,325 142%
Challenger 3,669 3,227 14% 6,220 5,753 8%
Viper 0 10 -100% 20 72 -72%
Journey 6,248 4,884 28% 10,474 8,857 18%
Caravan 12,668 10,555 20% 20,762 18,368 13%
Nitro 931 1,969 -53% 2,090 3,919 -47%
Durango 3,435 2,731 26% 6,456 3,930 64%
DODGE  BRAND 42,692 33,561 27% 74,146 57,875 28%
Dakota 139 1,650 -92% 294 2,473 -88%
Ram P/U 22,595 18,644 21% 40,504 30,841 31%
Cargo Van 548 0 New 954 0 New
RAM BRAND 23,282 20,294 15% 41,752 33,314 25%
Fiat 500 3,227 0 New 5,138 0 New
         TOTAL CAR 40,024 17,745 126% 68,856 29,935 130%
         TOTAL TRUCK 93,497 77,357 21% 165,814 135,285 23%
GRAND TOTAL 133,521 95,102 40% 234,670 165,220 42%

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 just-auto.com, 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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