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Best August since 2002? Allpar compares sales

by Bill Cawthon on

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When Chrysler released its August sales numbers, Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales, said that last month’s results were “…our strongest August sales in 12 years.”

By 2003, in the DaimlerChrysler era, U.S. light vehicle sales had retreated from the record years of 2000-2001.  Chrysler’s August 2003 sales had fallen 12.2% from 2000, and January-August sales had dropped 16.2%. Compared to 2002, August 2003 sales were down 9.7%.

The 12 years from 2003 to 2014 saw decline, serial ownership, bankruptcy, and recovery, culminating in 53 months of continuous sales growth.

Jeeps, Chrysler cars and Dodge cars were key to achieving the milestone. In particular, the Wrangler, and the Chrysler 200 stand out, along with the Jeep Cherokee (which easily outsold the Liberty).

Jim Morrison with Grand Cherokee

What is especially gratifying is the fact Chrysler’s August 2014 numbers beat those 2003 figures with or without Fiat.

The comparison of the models offered in 2003 to those on sale now show just how much Chrysler has changed in the past dozen years.

One thing that hasn’t changed: Chrysler is still a truck company. In fact, Chrysler sold a higher percentage of cars last month than it did in 2003.

CHRYSLER SALES – AUGUST 2003 vs. AUGUST 2014
Brand & Model Aug ’03 Aug ’14 Change YTD 2003 YTD 2014 Change
Chrysler 200 0 10,810 0 64,147
Chrysler Sebring 7,107 0 69,762 0
Chrysler 300/300C 0 4,887 0 34,827
Chrysler 300M 1,716 0 19,007 0
Chrysler Concorde 1,311 0 23,229 0
Chrysler Crossfire 706 0 1,593 0
“Chrysler” Prowler 0 0 511 0
Total Chrysler Car 10,840 15,697 44.8% 114,102 98,974 -13.3%
Chrysler Pacifica 7,436 0 25,763 0
Chrysler PT Cruiser 6,745 0 77,629 0
Chrysler Town & Country 9,967 14,065 41.1% 90,311 95,311 5.5%
Chrysler Voyager 1,179 0 12,689 0
Total Chrysler Truck 25,327 14,065 -44.5% 206,392 95,311 -53.8%
Dodge Avenger 0 2,905 0 47,686
Dodge Stratus 5,578 0 71,662 0
Dodge Dart 0 8,390 0 53,840
Dodge Neon 9,681 0 83,637 0
Dodge Challenger 0 4,182 0 34,757
Dodge Charger 0 8,211 0 63,517
Dodge Intrepid 5,671 0 63,430 0
Dodge Viper 222 38 -82.9% 1,631 438 -73.1%
Total Dodge Car 21,152 23,726 12.2% 220,360 200,238 -9.1%
Caravan/Grand Caravan 21,194 11,257 -46.9% 172,525 92,796 -46.2%
Dodge Journey 0 9,147 0 63,456
Dodge/Ram Dakota 9,382 0 78,446 0
Dodge Durango 12,647 5,765 -54.4% 78,083 43,447 -44.4%
Dodge/Ram Pickup 43,824 43,775 -0.1% 302,480 283,256 -6.4%
Ram Cargo Van 0 1,161 0 6,812
Dodge Ram Van (B-series) 2,612 0 17,369 0
Dodge Sprinter 211 0 731 0
Ram ProMaster 0 1,658 0 8,582
Total Dodge/Ram Truck 89,870 72,763 -19.0% 649,634 498,349 -23.3%
Jeep Cherokee 0 18,674 0 113,933
Jeep Liberty 16,352 0 108,296 0
Jeep Compass 0 4,749 0 43,252
Jeep Grand Cherokee 20,050 18,235 -9.1% 128,340 123,017 -4.1%
Jeep Patriot 0 9,120 0 60,841
Jeep Wrangler 6,797 17,988 164.6% 46,908 120,113 156.1%
Total Jeep Truck 43,199 68,766 59.2% 283,544 461,156 62.6%
Total Chrysler Brand 36,167 29,762 -17.7% 320,494 194,285 -39.4%
Total Dodge/Ram 111,022 96,489 -13.1% 869,994 698,587 -19.7%
Total Jeep 43,199 68,766 59.2% 283,544 461,156 62.6%
Total Chrysler Domestic 190,388 195,017 2.4% 1,474,032 1,354,028 -8.1%
Fiat 500 / Total Fiat Cars 0 3,329 0 23,879
Fiat 500L / Total Fiat Truck 0 33 0 8,262
Total Fiat Brand 0 3,362 0 32,141
Total Chrysler Group
190,388 198,379 4.2% 1,474,032 1,386,169 -6.0%

Editor’s notes:  300/300C is roughly comparable to Concorde+300M. Some vehicles have been reordered to show their predecessors more closely, e.g. 200 is above Sebring, Avenger is above Stratus, Charger is above Intrepid.  Journey is comparable to Dodge Caravan.  Ram Van ceased production in 2003 but was roughly comparable in class to Sprinter and Promaster. Wrangler sales now include the four-door Unlimited which was not available in 2003.

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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