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FCA: US sales way up, Canada way down

by David Zatz on

FCA US reported a hefty increase of 17% over November 2017, selling 181,310 vehicles, (136,704 to retail customers). It was the highest November retail sales since 2001; 88% of sales went to retail, 12% to fleets. If not for a particularly good 2015, FCA US would have recorded its best November sales ever.

November 2018 FCA US sales

The enormous gain was driven by Jeep and Ram—especially Ram, which had a 44% gain as value buyers went for Ram Classics and more well-heeled customers opted for the newer Ram 1500s.  Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, gave a nod to Motor Trend SUV and Truck of the Year awards for driving traffic.

Jeep sales rose by 12%, with a 4% gain in retail sales; the Wrangler, Cherokee, and Compass all set records for the month. The Ram 1500, though, was the biggest gainer, rising by 59% to 37,637 sales out of Ram’s total 57,970. Ram doesn’t normally break out the 1500 from other models, so this is a rare chance to see how popular the heavy-duty models are (answer: surprisingly popular).

Alfa Romeo also had a good month, rising by 36%, albeit to just 1,957; more than half were SUVs. Dodge, likewise, saw a 15% sales gain, to 33,196, with Challenger doing especially well.

The bad news came with the two eponymous brands, Fiat and Chrysler. Fiat plummeted by another 24%, falling to 1,309; if this keeps up, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio will outsell all five Fiats combined. (The new 500X may have an impact, but the new 500L, so far, has not). Chrysler fell by 21%, dropping to 13,094 across the 300 and Pacifica.

The Wrangler and Cherokee each gained by about a fifth.  At Ram, the pickup gains hid a 90% increase in ProMaster sales. The Chrysler Pacifica continues to disappoint, facing a 35% drop in sales—beaten by the ancient Dodge Caravan, which had a redesign in 2008 and a facelift in 2011.

The 300 actually had a good month, shooting up by 55% in the face of “sedans are dead” claims by pundits, GM, and Ford. Those gains were reflected in a 21% boost in Charger sales and, to a lesser degree, a 30% gain for the Challenger. The “specialty” Challenger didn’t sell quite as well as the Charger last month, but it did beat the 300 by around 500 sales.


The Caravan chassis is, um, “well proven.”

The ancient Journey also did well, with a 16% sales gain, though its numbers are terrible compared with many competitors (and around a quarter of Cherokee sales). The Durango dropped by 7%, which is just 300 sales. The Caravan went up by 19%, which wasn’t nearly enough to compensate for Pacifica losses.

Over at Fiat, sadly, a fairly hefty redesign of the 500L yielded a 63% sales loss, to just 47 cars sold for the month. The “now you get a free turbo” 500 did better, or at least found its bottom, with a 10% drop to 707. The 500X dropped by 36% but a dramatically improved powertrain on the 2019s may help there (sales were just 358). Finally, the Fiat Spider seems to have found most of its market already, with sales down 26% to 197.

Alfa Romeo is doing better, which must be a relief to many people through FCA. They sold just 11 4Cs, but that’s a pretty specialized car; the mainline Stelvio SUV nearly doubled its November 2017 number, with 1034 sold, and the Giulia posted a healthy 21% gain, to 912. Alfa Romeo needs to do much better to be a success, but the way there is likely incremental gains like these, as the word gets out and happy owners tell their friends.

US sales chart follows.

In Canada: FCA Canada sales were far below their November 2017 numbers, dropping from 19,054 to 12,366 as the company weaned itself off daily-rental sales. Fleet sales were down 49% from November 2017. Overall, FCA gave up a stunning 35% of their sales in Canada, while GM fell by 18% and Ford by 11%. In contrast, Nissan and Toyota had record sales.

Ram was the leader, with 5,679 sales. Jeep had a 4% gain, with 4,038 sales; Dodge sold 2,225 vehicles, and Chrysler was down to a mere 315 (all, one might add, built in Canada); that‘s just about ten cars and minivans per day, across five provinces. Alfa Romeo had a mere 78 sales; the Fiat number was not reported.

Fiat Chrysler sales by model, in the United States (except Maserati)

 

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