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Fleet boost raised April sales

by David Zatz on

Thanks to a boost in fleet sales — 22% of the total — FCA US reported a sales gain of 5%, rising to 184,149 for April 2018. That includes a 20% gain at Jeep, which offset a fleet decline at Ram and a hefty fall at Chrysler.

sales graph

In total, retail sales fell from last month by 1%, ending up at 143,995. Last April FCA US fleet sales were just 17% of the total. FCA has been cutting back on fleets, as a percentage of total sales, since at least 2011.

The Jeep Compass gained quite a bit, easily beating last year’s Patriot+Compass sales with room to spare; the company moved 11,521 of the compact crossovers.  More importantly, Wrangler sales jumped from 18,841 last year to 29,776 this April, with the new JL available (and some recalcitrant buyers snapping up JKs). The Cherokee also gained by 20%, while the Grand Cherokee and Renegade each fell (12% and 10%).

2018 Jeep Compass

The drop in Ram pickup sales (9%) must hurt, given that they are a profit leader; buyers may be foregoing the 2018s and waiting for the 2019s. If so, the strategy of building both at once may backfire on the company, as it has before with the minivans some years back.

At Chrysler, the main loss was from selling just 95 of the dated 200s, down from 2,857 last April; 300 and Pacifica held roughly steady.  The story at Dodge was a bit odd, with the Caravan jumping by 21% and the Journey by 39%. Challenger, Charger, and Durango all fell.

Despite rising gas prices and standard turbochargers on the 500, Fiat lost 45% of its sales from last April, ending up at 1,404 across the country. Alfa Romeo’s gain helped it to pass Fiat, with 1,847 cars changing hands.

It was a mixed month for automakers; Ford dropped by 3.2%, Honda by 3.1%, and Nissan by 6.5%. Toyota rose by 4%, after the company threw an incredible amount of standard equipment on their cars; Volkswagen rose by 8%, after sales sank in 2017; and Tesla rose by 36%, with an estimated 6,000 sales  (by comparison, Lincoln stood at 8,518 and Chrysler at 14,189).

FCA also reported Mexican sales, with 6,684 cars and trucks sold. That included 26 Chryslers, 1,947 Dodges (led by the Attitude, a rebadged Mitsubishi), 855 Jeeps, and 1,966 Rams (including 849 Fiat-based Ram 700s). Mexican sales also included 1,048 Mitsubishis, 22 Alfa Romeos, and 820 Fiats, roughly half of which were Mobis.

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