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Seers see strong sales for Chrysler

by Bill Cawthon on

Analyst-Forecast-Web
While August sales figures won’t be released until next Wednesday, two industry analysts are already predicting a big month for Chrysler.

Both Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com and TrueCar.com see Chrysler posting not only its 53rd consecutive month of sales growth, but the highest percentage growth of any major automaker.

Chrysler’s sales gains continue to be driven by Jeep, which is uniquely situated to benefit from the strength of the crossover/SUV segment, the hottest of the U.S. light vehicle market.

Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said Chrysler will report 184,000 sales, up 11.1% from last August and up 9.7% from July 2014. Market share will grow from 11.0% in August 2013 to 12.3% in August 2014, an increase of 1.3 points of share.

Gutierrez saw industrywide sales coming in at 1.49 million units, down slightly from August 2013. This translates into a predicted seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 16.5 million sales, the sixth month that the SAAR has been above 16 million.

“Although growth has slowed, sales remain steady and on pace to end the year strong,” said Gutierrez. “Growth is expected to continue to soften, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see automakers increase their incentive spending. Spending was restrained for the first part of the year, and has crawled upward in recent months. Sales also will be boosted by the Labor Day weekend, which is traditionally one of the strongest weekends of the year for vehicle sales.”

KBB.COM AUGUST LIGHT VEHICLE SALES FORECAST
Sales Volume Market Share
Manufacturer Aug-14 Aug-13 Change Aug-14 Aug-13 Change
Chrysler Group 184,000 165,552 11.1% 12.3% 11.0% 1.3%
General Motors 273,000 275,847 -1.0% 18.3% 18.4% -0.1%
Toyota Motor Sales 221,000 231,537 -4.6% 14.8% 15.4% -0.6%
Ford Motor Company 217,000 220,404 -1.5% 14.6% 14.7% -0.1%
American Honda 153,000 166,432 -8.1% 10.3% 11.1% -0.8%
Nissan North America 122,000 120,498 1.2% 8.2% 8.0% 0.2%
Hyundai-Kia 117,000 118,126 -1.0% 7.9% 7.9% 0.0%
Volkswagen Group 51,000 57,674 -11.6% 3.4% 3.8% -0.4%
Total 1,490,000 1,501,294 -0.8% N/A N/A N/A

John Krafcik, president of TrueCar.com, was even more optimistic about Chrysler, predicting sales will rise to 191,000 units, a 15.4% improvement over August 2013 and a 13.9% gain over July 2014. Krafcik thought Chrysler’s market share would rise to 12.7%, an addition of 1.7 points of share.

TrueCar.com’s forecast said total August sales will come in at just over 1.5 million, essentially flat compared to the same period in 2013. with a SAAR of 16.6 million. TrueCar.com expected full-year sales to total 16.4 million cars and light trucks, about the same figure forecast by Allpar.com.

“While we continue to keep close tabs on inventories and incentives, we remain upbeat about auto industry sales, segment mix and profitability,” Krafcik said. “Despite one fewer selling day, sales are tracking to match last year’s epic August, while incentive spending changes reflect consumer demand shifting to higher-MSRP, higher-profit vehicle segments, which is a net positive for most full-line automakers.”

TRUECAR.COM AUGUST LIGHT VEHICLE SALES FORECAST
Sales Volume Market Share
Manufacturer Aug-14 Aug-13 Change Aug-14 Aug-13 Change
Chrysler Group 191,000 165,552 15.4% 12.7% 11.0% 1.7%
General Motors 273,000 275,847 -1.0% 18.2% 18.4% -0.2%
Toyota Motor Sales 220,000 231,537 -5.0% 14.7% 15.4% -0.8%
Ford Motor Company 213,000 220,404 -3.4% 14.2% 14.7% -0.5%
American Honda 152,000 166,432 -8.7% 10.1% 11.1% -1.0%
Nissan North America 124,000 120,498 2.9% 8.3% 8.0% 0.2%
Hyundai-Kia 121,000 118,126 2.4% 8.1% 7.9% 0.2%
Volkswagen Group 50,000 57,674 -13.3% 3.3% 3.8% -0.5%
Total 1,501,500 1,501,294 0.0% N/A N/A N/A

As KBB.com’s Alec Gutierrez noted, manufacturers have been increasing incentive spending to boost sales. TrueCar.com estimated that rebates and special financing offers have increased 9.3% since last August but have fallen 0.2% compared to July 2014.

TrueCar.com estimated that General Motors is spending the most on incentives, shelling out more than a billion dollars in August with an average spiff of $3,676. Chrysler is second, with a $3,476 average, up 12.9% from August 2013 and 0.7% from July of this year.

TRUECAR.COM ESTIMATED AVERAGE INCENTIVE – AUGUST 2014
Estimated Change vs. Change vs. Total
Manufacturer Aug-14 Aug-13 Jul-14 Spending
General Motors $3,676 3.5% -0.1% $1,003,462,274
Chrysler Group $3,476 12.9% 0.7% $663,922,057
Volkswagen Group $3,171 22.0% -1.6% $158,555,715
Ford Motor Company $3,105 5.9% -11.3% $661,360,358
Kia Motors America $2,278 15.8% 0.0% $118,431,747
Nissan North America $2,273 -11.3% 0.9% $281,860,268
Toyota Motor Sales $2,186 19.4% 1.0% $481,019,372
American Honda $1,825 12.1% -0.5% $277,329,120
Hyundai Motor America $1,738 14.2% -0.3% $119,937,211
Industry Total $2,772 9.3% -2.0% $4,157,451,728

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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