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The Years That Chrysler Beat Ford

by David Zatz on

Reuters recently noted that FCA US has beaten Ford in U.S. sales for the first time ever — which is accurate, given that FCA US has only existed for a short time.

However, FCA US dates itself back to the formation of Chrysler Corporation in 1925 (not to the sale of the Chrysler car in 1924, by Maxwell Motors, nor to Maxwell’s own genesis in 1904, nor to the founding of Dodge Brothers, which was larger than Chrysler when the latter bought it).

While fleet vs retail figures are not available for the 1930s, it’s a shame to miss the years when Chrysler easily beat Ford in United States vehicle registrations — though it remained #2 behind the mammoth General Motors.  Of note, Ford did not sell Mercurys until 1938; by 1939, it was easily outselling Lincoln.

The graph above reflects figures from Jerry Heasley’s 1977 book, The Production Figure Book for U.S. Cars.  It does not reflect truck sales, which were minimal during the period.

Update: Larry Vellequette of Automotive News pointed out that Chrysler had more recently beaten Ford in sales in November 2006 and February 2009. However, as he pointed out, the 2009 event was following a despairing call to action by then-co-president Jim Press,  and the 2006 event was when Ford borrowed $24 billion.


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