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Retail sales keep rising

by David Zatz on

During the final years of Daimler and the brief ownership of Cerberus, Chrysler tended to rely heavily on fleet sales. Sergio Marchionne’s leadership has brought ever-increasing retail sales, which offset drops in fleet sales, and increased Chrysler’s profitability.

fleet sales

For October 2014, 76% of Chrysler’s sales went to retail buyers, versus 77% in October 2013; the change was probably due to a higher mix of truck and van sales to commercial buyers, not to heavier rental-agency and police departments, especially with the Avenger gone and the 200 no longer being a rental staples. While no exact figures are available, it does not appear that Dodge has been moving more Chargers to police agencies.

Chrysler is the #4 retail-sales company in the United States, a position seemingly unattainable just a few years ago, and the #3 fleet seller. According to Automotive News, the top five are GM (175,100), Toyota (165,800), Ford (136,400), Chrysler (129,500), and Honda (118,700). When Fiat first took over, Chrysler was behind both Nissan and Honda, and was on course to be overtaken by Hyundai.

Chrysler retail sales rose by 21% over October 2013.

In fleet sales, Chrysler was #3, with sales going up by 26% over October 2103.  The top was Ford, with 52,300, followed closely by GM, with 51,700. Chrysler came in at 41,000, and the imports started at 15,100 (Hyundai, followed closely by Toyota and Nissan). Honda and other imports are not major players in fleet sales, with fewer than 2,500 vehicles sold to fleets in October.

This week marked the launch of a new compact van, the Ram ProMaster City, intended to garner commercial sales that would otherwise have gone to Ford Transit Connect; and to make Ram more of a “one stop shop” for fleet buyers. Cities and companies can now choose large and small vans, large pickups, large and small cars, and various SUVs from Chrysler, where there had been fairly large gaps, requiring purchases from more than one vendor. Fleet buyers who only wanted to negotiate with a single dealer or company were essentially pushed to Ford, which had a full line. The Promaster van itself has seen increasing sales each month, and the upcoming diesel option may help that increase, though dropping fuel costs may reduce its attractiveness.

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