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October from a Chrysler perspective

by Bill Cawthon on

October’s big story is the Ram pickup. Fresh from its “Truck of Texas” repeat, Ram passed the Toyota Camry to take the No. 3 spot for October. In September, the Ram was fourth and it was fifth last October. Ram sales growth was stronger than every other full-size pickup except the Toyota Tundra in October but in year-to-date (YTD) terms, it leads the entire pack.

The Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country were the best-selling minivans in October and the Caravan moved up to No. 2 in year-to-date (YTD) sales in a month where sales of the family haulers were up nearly five percent.

Chrysler easily maintained its fourth-place ranking among leading automakers. Chrysler is now 223,536 sales ahead of Honda for the first ten months of the year.

Cherokee sales got off to a modest start that most likely is more a function of limited supply than limited consumer interest. November and December should see the numbers take off.

Light trucks accounted for 72.3% of total Chrysler sales in October, up sharply from the 69.5% share last year. This is not surprising given that trucks took 52% of the total market last month compared to 49.7% of sales in October 2012. Moderate gasoline prices have driven pickup and crossover sales in the past few months, which has been a boon for the Detroit automakers. Growth has been especially strong in the small utility segment, which bodes well for the Cherokee.

Dart sales dropped 29.1% from September to October, hitting their lowest level of the year as overall Chrysler car sales fell 10.8% in month-to-month comparisons. Compared to October 2012, Chrysler car deliveries rose just 0.8%.

Monthly Comparisons CYTD Through
Brand/Model Oct-13 Sep-13 Oct-12 Oct-13 Sep-13 Oct-12
Ram Pickup 3 4 5 5 5 8
Jeep Grand Cherokee 21 17 23 22 22 25
Jeep Wrangler 26 28 24 28 27 26
Dodge Grand Caravan 30 29 26 35 36 27
Chrysler Town & Country 32 30 41 37 38 37
Chrysler 200 41 33 35 29 29 30
Dodge Charger 48 37 67 52 52 55
Dodge Journey 59 53 52 58 57 60
Dodge Dart 66 43 59 57 59 150
Jeep Patriot 68 57 73 66 66 68
Dodge Avenger 69 66 45 49 46 45
Dodge Durango 73 70 92 75 77 94
Chrysler 300 82 68 64 76 76 63
Jeep Compass 85 78 111 78 79 91
Dodge Challenger 98 84 103 80 78 88
Fiat 500 118 123 82 104 101 87
Fiat 500L 150 168 N/A 212 221 N/A
Ram Cargo Van 185 218 220 191 192 211
Jeep Cherokee 206 N/A N/A 266 N/A N/A
Ram ProMaster 207 N/A N/A 267 N/A N/A
SRT Viper 257 261 N/A 269 269 287
Manufacturers reported actual sales for 273 light vehicles in October.

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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