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Behind the sales drop (revised)

by Bill Cawthon on

FCA US reported that they had sold 161,477 cars and trucks in July 2017, a 10% drop from the same month last year (from 180,389 to 161,477). That’s right between Ford’s 7.5% drop and GM’s 15% fall.

At FCA, both retail and fleet sales fell; and the total dropped below both 2016 and 2015, though it still remained above 2010-2014.

The drop in retail sales was just 6% — and, for the first time in quite a while, retail sales were 90% of the total. The company dropped fleet sales by a surprising 35%, year over year. FCA wrote that this was a “planned volume reduction,” much of which came from cutting Jeep fleet sales (sales of the Patriot, not coincidentally, dropped by 70%; Cherokee sales fell by 23%).

At GM, rental sales dropped by 80% to around 2,700, but commercial fleet sales rose by 40%, to 17,300 — 11% of volume. Ford’s retail sales fell by 1%. Global giant Toyota gained 3.6%, and Honda dropped by just 1.2%.

The biggest percentage drops came from the loss of the 200 and Dart (65% and 75%), against a backdrop of dropping sedan sales across the industry. The Caravan fell by 25% after months of higher than normal sales, while the Cherokee dropped by 23% and Renegade by 12%. The higher-margin Jeeps held steady or climbed.

The Jeep Compass, with both all-new and all-old versions lumped together, bucked the trend by posting its best July sales ever, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee hit its best July sales since 2005.  Automakers have been finding it increasingly hard to sell sedans, but the 300 shot up by 31% and the Charger rose by 9%.

The Italian brands had mixed results, with Fiat again dropping across the board (18% overall) — even the new Spider. Alfa Romeo’s Giulia racked up 1,104 sales, and the Stelvio, which is to be the brand’s sales driver, saw its first double-digit sales month.

July ’17 July ’16 Change YTD ’17 YTD ’16 Change
200 1,899 5,446 -65% 15,621 41,561 -62%
300 3,090 2,364 31% 31,363 33,298 -6%
Town & Country 26 3,324 -99% 528 55,134 -99%
Pacifica 8,288 7,898 5% 67,886 18,941 New
CHRYSLER 13,303 19,032 -30% 115,398 148,934 -23%
Dart 822 3,314 -75% 8,955 31,764 -72%
Avenger 10 0 100% 10 41 -76%
Charger 5,426 4,984 9% 48,579 53,603 -9%
Challenger 5,333 5,588 -5% 41,243 40,181 3%
Viper 56 49 14% 458 351 30%
Journey 6,800 6,348 7% 63,677 54,116 18%
Caravan 7,503 10,071 -25% 87,370 83,981 4%
Durango 5,314 5,129 4% 41,952 43,617 -4%
DODGE 31,264 35,483 -12% 292,244 307,654 -5%
Compass 7,528 6,987 8% 33,274 57,563 -42%
Patriot 3,425 11,244 -70% 34,274 71,915 -52%
Wrangler 18,698 18,662 0% 117,620 119,074 -1%
Cherokee 11,818 15,411 -23% 93,186 116,413 -20%
Grand Cherokee 19,024 16,661 14% 135,403 117,016 16%
Renegade 8,858 10,071 -12% 61,885 62,298 -1%
JEEP 69,351 79,036 -12% 475,642 544,279 -13%
Pickup/C-Cabs 39,708 39,809 0% 290,151 273,029 6%
Cargo Van 0 0 0% 0 21 -100%
ProMaster Van 3,035 3,061 -1% 23,743 20,157 18%
ProMaster City 1,347 1,187 13% 9,791 10,808 -9%
RAM 44,090 44,057 0% 323,685 304,015 6%
500 1,026 1,089 -6% 8,482 8,876 -4%
500L 171 225 -24% 917 2,567 -64%
500X 597 944 -37% 4,577 7,526 -39%
Spider 450 480 -6% 2,950 481 513%
FIAT 2,244 2,738 -18% 16,926 19,450 -13%
Giulia 1,104 0 New 4,578 0 New
Alfa 4C 22 43 -49% 265 340 -22%
Stelvio 99 0 New 101 0 New
ALFA 1,225 43 2749% 4,944 340 1354%
CDJR 158,008 177,608 1,206,969 1,304,882
Fiat+Alfa 3,469 2,781 21,870 19,790
FCA US 161,477 180,389 -10% 1,228,839 1,324,672 -7%

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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