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Sales nearly steady, thanks to Ram (updated)

by David Zatz on

FCA US sales fell by just 2% from last February—a gap of under 4,000 sales out of 162,036. The hero of the month was Ram, whose past-generation “Ram Classic” model will be sticking around at least into 2020. The Ram Classic’s appearance on dealer lots means that the new Ram 1500 “DT” won’t need to be discounted much to keep sales up, and that its higher cost won’t deter customers who can move into a Classic instead.

Starting with the eponymous brand, we have Chrysler registering a nasty 36% fall; the Pacifica dived by 32%, to 7,854, but the 300 took an even worse fall, going down 44% to 2,508. There are rumors that the next 300 will be a crossover, not a sedan, and these sales numbers support that idea.

Moving on to Dodge, we have a less worrisome 8% drop, mostly due to the Caravan falling by 24% (bad timing, really, in the month the first minivan history book was published). That lost Chrysler over 4,000 sales. The Charger fell by 13%, to a still-healthy 6,547, and the Challenger fell by 40%, to 3,639, still beating the Chrysler 300. (The 40% drop of the Challenger may seem worse than the Caravan slide, but it’s actually just about 2,500 sales sales).  The profitable Durango shot up by 17%, and Dodge ended up down 8%.

Jeep, the savior of Chrysler and FCA US alike, was, as usual, the best selling FCA US brand by far, with 67,075 units moving out the door—a 4% drop from last year, mainly due to 25% and 28% falls in Compass and Renegade sales, respectively. Continued low fuel prices are probably partly to blame here; the Cherokee gained by a whopping 31%, to 16,020, while the Grand Cherokee edged up by 3%, to 18,009. The Wrangler was consigned to third place, down 6% to 15,001 sales.

The last (alphabetically) of the American FCA US brands is Ram, which posted a stunning 24% growth spurt, hitting 45,542 sales. While ProMaster Van sales doubled, the real star was the pickup/chassis cab series, which FCA doesn’t break out at all; that reached 39,950. ProMaster City sales dropped by 20%; the imported, Fiat-based model sold fewer than a thousand copies, but at that, it outsold all the actual Fiats combined.

Which brings us to the Italian brands. Alfa Romeo dropped by 13%; the Stelvio gained five sales, but the Giulia and 4C both had fairly steep falls. Fiat, as usual, plummeted, falling by a stunning 50% from its already low numbers. There are four Fiat cars for sale—two recent redesigns, one selling at bargain prices, and one that was fairly recently launched in the first place. None managed to hit 220 sales, and the grand total was 616, led by the 500X’s 219. The 500L’s continued sale remains a mystery, with just 51 sold this month.

Overall, it was not a bad month for FCA US. The company didn’t release the fleet-sale percentage. The company’s 11-month streak of sales gains has been broken, but not by a large drop; and Toyota also fell (by 5%) while Honda was just about stable (down 0.4%). GM’s no longer releasing monthly figures, so that comparison is hard to make. Ford hasn’t released their numbers yet, but they are expected to fall slightly.

The story was similar in Canada, where sales also declined by 2%, which in this case meant exactly 370 sales. The Ram 1500 remained the second best selling vehicle in the country; and Canadian Chrysler and Dodge dealerships are being rebranded “Canada’s Minivan Store,” though Caravan , with 2,889 sales (up 12% for the month), was well below Ram’s 6,394 sales.

Canadian sales for most models are relatively low, so month-to-month fluctuations tend to be quite large. That said, Chrysler dropped by 47%, with the Pacifica hard-hit by a 61% shortfall to just 235 sales (lower than 300’s 278). At Dodge, the Caravan gained by 12%, or roughly the Pacifica’s shortfall (in actual volume). The Durango and Grand Cherokee both had good months in Canada, just like in the US.

Overall, Dodge was up 23%, Jeep down 11%, Ram down 1%, Alfa down 54% (to just 48), and Fiat, oh, Fiat plummeted by 68% to a mere nine sales, across four models and ten provinces.

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