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FCA actually beat Ford in US sales

by David Zatz on

Fiat Chrysler enjoyed a rare month as the #3 automaker in the United States, as Ford slipped by 11% and FCA US gained by 15%.  It was the first time this has happened since 2015, and can be credited (on FCA’s side) to Dodge, Jeep, and Ram. Dodge gained by around 12,000 sales over September 2017; Jeep, FCA’s biggest-selling brand, gained by around 10,000 sales; and Ram, the #2 brand, rose by around 4,000.

ford f150

FCA US has six brands, not counting Maserati, which brought in 199,819 sales (adding Maserati brings the total to 200,769). Ford has just two, Ford and Lincoln; for September, Ford brand sales were 188,328 and Lincoln was 8,168. The Ford brand was down by 11.5%, and Lincoln by 7%.

Last September, Ford beat FCA by nearly 50,000 sales. This September, FCA edged out Ford by over 3,000.

Adding to the fun, according to Automotive News, Ford actually had higher incentives than Fiat Chrysler — $4,784 per car, vs $4,655 at FCA. That hasn’t happened in quite some time. (GM’s incentives were estimated at $4,716, also higher than FCA’s. Asian automakers all had lower incentives, while BMW and Daimler had higher incentives — indeed, Daimler topped the charts at $5,775 per car.)

While Dodge’s strengths were its old Caravan and Journey, Jeep came through largely with the new Compass and redesigned Cherokee, both of which had dramatically sales gains. Ram’s relatively minor gain in pickups finished the story. Chrysler didn’t quite make 15,000 sales, but only fell by around a thousand since last year; Alfa Romeo contributed 1,639, a 400-sale gain, while Fiat was good for just 1,185, from five models, down by over 1,000 from last September.

The news isn’t all good; FCA still splits its sales across many more brands and models. Also, Ford’s drop appears to have come almost entirely from (probably voluntary) cuts in rental-fleet sales, which went from 11.4% of sales last year to 5.5% of sales this year. FCA and Ford had nearly identical fleet sales in September, 25% of total sales. And, in fairness, Ford claimed a truck shortage, and had higher transaction prices on its F-series than Ram enjoyed.

Still, taking out fleet sales entirely, FCA’s 149,713 retail sales beat Ford’s 148,233 retail sales.

Ford took big hits across its carlines, with every Ford passenger car dropping (not counting the GT). Traditional cars went down by 26.5%. The Mustang registered 5,770 sales, while the Challenger hit 5,462.

For SUVs, there’s a bit more direct comparison. The Escape (20,398) can be compared with the Cherokee (23,836); the Explorer (18,769) with the Grand Cherokee (19,312) and Durango (6,583).  The Edge’s 9,177 is a bit more than the Renegade’s 8,099 but far less than the Compass’ 16,525.  Somewhere, perhaps with the Explorer, the Journey fits in with another 9,336 for Dodge.

Ford still reigns in pickups, with 75,092 against Ram’s 51,856; and in commercial vans, with 11,532 Transits against 3,623 ProMasters. Ford does not have a direct competitor for Dodge’s Caravan (13,829) or Charger, though; and, in total, seems to be doing quite poorly in crossovers against Jeep, even without Dodge. The Fusion, Ford’s best selling car (the next best is less than half as popular), dropped by 25% in sales, a bad sign for Ford.

Lincoln has made some headway, and its 8,168 sales are far higher than Alfa Romeo and Maserati combined — assuming that’s the comparable FCA lineup — but that’s across six different models, and Alfa Romeo and Maserati are still growing. The only Lincoln to gain in sales was the Navigator, and that totaled out at 1,257.

Overall, it was a good month for Mopar fans wanting to get ahead of the Blue Oval.


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