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2015’s US winners and losers

by David Zatz on

With the end of the year finally here, we can look at which cars and trucks were the biggest winners — and losers — in US sales.

First, the Jeep Renegade: it was new, shipped from Italy, and sales didn’t start until the year was well under way — yet it brought in nearly 61,000 sales, nearly the same as Jeep Compass’ full 2014 sales. It was still the least-selling Jeep, but it was a respectable showing.

jeep renegade launch

In percentage gains, the biggest winners were the ProMaster Van and Chrysler 200.  The ProMaster (up 57%) likely benefited from a complete year of sales, and slow adoption rates by cautious fleet managers. It marked up 28,345 sales for the year, easily beating the now-discontinued Ram Cargo Van — indeed, more than doublingthe older van’s 2014 sales.

The 200 gained both from being brand new and full of features, with a state of the art V6 powertrain and nine-speed even with the four cylinder engines; and from being alone in the midsize Mopar slot, with Dodge Avenger dead and buried (but still clearing off over a thousand leftovers from the lots).  The 200 ended up with an impressive-for-Chrysler 177,889 sales.

2016 Chrysler 200

The next little grouping was the Dodge Challenger and Jeep Patriot, whose sales went up 29% and 27%, respectively. The Challenger is a redesign, looking much the same as prior models, but now with an eight speed across the board and a Hellcat model to drive attention its way; it hit 66,635 sales.

The Patriot sold better, with 118,464 sales, likely gaining from Jeep’s increased popularity and, to some extent, people coming in to look at Cherokees and Renegades and unable to resist Patriot’s value.

Finally, we get to the losers. Ignoring the discontinued Ram Van (down 72%), the biggest drop was for the Fiat 500L, down 37%, with fewer than 8,000 leaving lots — despite massive rebates. The Fiat 500 did somewhat better, falling by 26%, with 25,084 sold — a far cry from the goal of 50,000 per year. While it was only available for a brief time, the 500X did far better than the 500L, with over 9,000 sold.

In the Mopar branch, not many cars saw losses. The Town & Country and Caravan both fell, by 32% and 28%, due partly to a factory changeover; there are likely some people waiting for the 2017s, too. Town & Country sales of 93,848 were beaten by the Dodge Caravan, with 97,141 sold.

Then there’s the Dodge Viper, down 11% despite a price cut, to 676. The Chrysler 300 essentially held its ground, down 0.5% — from 53,382 to 53,109 sales — even as customers flee from large cars into crossovers. The Dodge Durango dropped by 0.3%, but since it’s made on the same line as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which gained by 7%, that may be internal scheduling at work.  Those were the only FCA US vehicles to drop for 2015 as a whole; all the others gained.

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