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FCA US sales still matching 2018, with more fleets

by David Zatz on

FCA US announced third-quarter sales of 565,034 cars and trucks, up by roughly 470 from the same period in 2018. For the year to date, FCA US is down by roughly 19,000 vehicles. One quarter of the year-to-date figure (22% of the last quarter) went to fleet buyers, an increase over 2018 (the last time the company was at 25% for the year was in 2016 and before that, in 2012).

For the last quarter, the biggest hits were taken by Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Chrysler, while Ram shot up and Jeep and Dodge remained roughly stable.

Let’s start with FCA US’ biggest seller (and 30 years ago, who would have dreamed it?), Jeep. It was a bad quarter for the Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee, but a good one for the Grand Cherokee and a mild gain for the Wrangler (up 8%). For the year, only the Grand Cherokee showed a gain. The Gladiator staunched the bleeding, with 16,132 high-yield sales adding to the two-model gains.

The Wrangler is down for the year by around 8%, with a still-stunning 176,020 sales; if one adds the Gladiator and Wrangler, one shows a gain, so it’s likely that those pickup sales aren’t all being poached from the traditional Jeeps. As for the Grand Cherokee, it’s gained steadily—11% for the year (up to 185,040, beating any FCA vehicle other than the Ram pickup).

The Cherokee has fallen rather dramatically, dropping from 179,743 YTD 2018 to 149,349 YTD 2019. The Renegade, never a truly strong seller, has continued its fall, but this time the sales aren’t going to the Compass, which also fell rather dramatically. Renegade sales for the quarter were just 21,234, while the Compass was only 35,158—not a good sign for the future.

Over at the all-important Ram, FCA US’ other global brand, we see a whopping 23% gain in year to date pickup sales, with the total coming in at 461,115; for the quarter, sales were up by 14%. That’s the benefit of running two different truck models in three plants. The redesigned ProMaster Van seems to be gaining some traction, with sales up 30% for both the year and the quarter, though Ford still dominates the segment; the ProMaster City was up 5% for the year and down 2% for the quarter, still beating all four Fiat models combined (but not Alfa Romeo).

At Chrysler there was more bad news, with both cars down—300 by 20% and Pacifica by 24% for the quarter, with worse year-to-date numbers for the 300. Pacifica sales were still a reasonable 21,697 for the quarter and 70,224 for the year; it has not yet been joined by the lower-priced Voyager. (One wonders what the strategy is—having a cheap model that can be heavily discounted, perhaps, without altering the Pacifica’s resale value; or testing to see if it’s the nameplate or the brand that’s holding back sales?)

Dodge Caravan minivan

Over at Dodge, the news was mixed, with sales down 4% for the quarter and 8% for the year to date. The Caravan was once again Dodge’s biggest seller, helping those who love irony. The 2011-era minivan still outsold the Pacifica easily, with 27,456 sales—down 20%. Year to date, the number was similar: 99,403 sales, down 18%, versus Pacifica’s 70,224, down 23%.

The muscle Dodges did far better, with the Charger up 46% for the quarter (26,060, not far from Caravan turf), and Challenger up 21% to 18,031. Year to date, the Charger was up 20% and the Challenger was down 11%. The even-more-dated Journey was down by 32% for the quarter and 19% for the year, still coming in with a respectable 17,000 or so sales in the quarter. That beat the Durango’s 15,631, though the Durango was only down by 7% for the quarter (and up 6% for the year) — keeping in mind that Durango profit margins are almost certainly far above the Journey’s.

Fiat dove by another 38% from its already low numbers; the 500 is still its sales leader, with 876 sales, followed closely by the unique (other than Miata) 124 Spider, with 686 sales. At Alfa Romeo, down 27% overall, the Stelvio crossover is the leader with 2,244 sales.

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