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Sales so far: comparisons

by David Zatz on

While Chrysler sales have been rising, so have the sales of most of its competitors. Some may wonder where the company falls in various segments, such as:

minivan-salesMinivans. Once dominated by Chrysler, the minivan market, challenged unsuccessfully by Ford and Chevrolet, has now become a battleground with Toyota and Honda, which appear to have higher average transaction prices but lower volumes.

Chrysler appears unlikely to regain the #1 crown for either of its brands, but will certainly be the #1 maker of minivans “all told,” and appears to be set to come in at both #2 and #3 if Toyota does not slap incentives or a last-minute sales push onto its fourth-place Sienna.

Chrysler is not far removed from Odyssey year-to-date, but its sales are almost completely evenly split. Of note, the Honda and Toyota are both priced comparably to the Chrysler minivan, with Dodge undercutting all three. Kia has announced the end of the Sedona in the U.S. market, though it will continue to be offered in other markets, and existing inventory is being slowly sold down.

Pickups. Ram has been picking up market share for the past year, but is nowhere near the giants in the field — Ford, with its stunning 688,810 F-series sales, and GM, with nearly 440,000 Silverados and over 166,000 Sierras (total: around 600,000) both dwarf Ram’s 322,268 pickup and chassis-cab sales.  Ram does have advantages; critics have consistently been picking its trucks as tops in their classes, the new diesel unquestionably pushes Ram 1500 to the top of the fuel economy rankings, and the V6/eight-speed is at the top of the gasoline economy class. Ford’s greater variety of options, bigger dealer channel, significant fleet sales, aggressive discounting, marketing might, and established customer base is likely to keep it #1 by a large margin for some time, but Ram is likely going to be able to increase share further over time if they can continue to keep Ram fresh.

Fiat. Fiat 500, made by Chrysler in Mexico, has been falling in popularity, possibly due to dropping fuel prices. So far this year, only 33,510 500s have sold, down from over 40,000 at the same time last year; and while Mini has also seen a drop, it no longer seems to be challenged by Fiat, with 40,640 cars sold so far (not including 19,270 Countrymans, which sell against 500L — so far, racking up nearly 6,000 sales on a very short year).

largeGrand Cherokee vs Explorer is an interesting race, partly because one also has Dodge Durango in the mix. Grand Cherokee is nearing 160,000 units for the year, with Durango at around 55,000. Explorer has surged past Jeep, with 175,490 sales so far in the year, a major gain over 2012. Part of the reason was the model-year change for Grand Cherokee, which took some time from production, and part was the increased Durango mix. Adding up Grand Cherokee and Durango, Jeep/Dodge clearly outweighs Explorer.

Small SUVs/crossovers. Here, there is no question but that imports dominate, and have done so since they first entered the market. RAV4 beat 200,000 units so far this year, Honda CR-V is past 275,000, and Pilot is still around with over 117,000 sales so far. Even Nissan is healthy, with nearly 150,000 Rogue sales — Nissan’s second best seller, by far, other than Altima. Ford Escape came close to CR-V, with over 270,000 sales.

While Jeep is the best selling all-SUV brand so far this year, edging out GMC (an all-truck brand), the only comparable Jeeps are Compass (under 50,000), Patriot (under 70,000), and Cherokee (nearly 11,000 in its first month). Whether Cherokee can match Rogue and perhaps approach RAV4 in the future is an open question, but a new Compatriot is due as well.

Large cars work out well for Chrysler. Charger is at 88,191 for the year, running neck and neck with Avenger for most popular Dodge car, and beating Dart by around 11,000 sales. Chrysler 300 is at 52,843 sales, down from last year but with higher margins and transaction prices (since the base model was dropped, instantly boosting resale values). The equivalent Ford would be Taurus, at under 75,000 sales — lower than Charger. The biggest competition seems to be coming from the Chevrolet Impala, with a whopping 146,164 sales so far this year, beating the combined Charger and 300 (unless you add Challenger in). That does not include Buick LaCross (nearly 46,000 sales). Over at Hyundai, Genesis racked up just 29,050 sales so far, while Toyota Avalon turned in a surprisingly low-for-Toyota not-quite-65,000 sales.  The LX cars may well boost sales after their redesign, though most likely Charger and 300 will maintain their positions (by not falling behind) and Challenger will be boosted upwards.

In muscle cars, so far, Camaro is besting Mustang (though that might not remain given the hype over the 2015 Mustang, conveniently released shortly after Ram bested Ford and Chevy in Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year competition for an unprecedented second consecutive year). Challenger has had 48,590 sales in the US; Camaro has had 75,552, and Mustang, 71,459.  The Challenger redesign, expected to include an eight-speed transmission for every engine, will increase its competitiveness considerably, especially for the popular V6 models; that may boost it up closer to the major players.

The year-end numbers are bound to have some surprises, and sales of Jeep Cherokee may provide an indicator of how strong it will be in 2014 as a whole.

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