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Did F or C sell best in ’19? (FCA US, platform by platform)

by David Zatz on

FCA US is an interesting mix of new and old platforms, some from DaimlerChrysler, some from Fiat, and some from Fiat Chrysler. Rather than looking at sales by brand, what happens when we look at sales by platform?

Starting from the newest, we have what used to be called SUSW, an adaptation of the old Fiat/GM SCSS, which underpins the Compass, Renegade, and 500X. Just looking at the Jeeps, we see 220,819 U.S. sales, a respectable number.  The S-Jeeps are not quite as offroad capable as the rest of the line, but they are still respectable and ahead of their peers. (We’re skipping the Fiats and Alfas, since there are so few of them.)

Next, we have the biggest range, CUSW and derivatives; that includes the old Dart and 200, along with the Cherokee and, arguably, the Pacifica (the latter is based on CUSW but is not actually CUSW). These were based on the C-EVO platform under the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, with changes to suit Chrysler and Jeep; the Cherokee at least can conquer AMC’s old Rubicon test. Here, we have 289,102 U.S. sales for 2019—most of which were Cherokees. Again, it’s a good number.

2019 Jeep Cherokee off-road

Both C and S are expected to be replaced by newer Peugeot platforms.

The WK2 platform, again, is just two vehicles, Grand Cherokee and Durango; both are being replaced soon adaptations of Giorgio. U.S. combined sales were 310,568, which is good for two very similar vehicles (most sales were Jeeps, which is why there’s a three-row, Grand-Cherokee-based Jeep on the way).

Next up is the L platform, with the similar Charger, Challenger, and 300; the U.S. sales of 187,145 were similar to the prior year, with Charger gaining by 16,700, 300 dropping around 17,000, and Challenger falling fewer than 6,000, at a time when sedans and coupes were said to be an endangered species. Overall, they sold decently well especially since their replacements (Giorgio-based) are long overdue.

For the first time ever, Shaker hood scoop available on Challeng

The Wrangler has three vehicles on one basic platform—two-door, four-door, and Gladiator pickup, which all combined hit an impressive 268,079 sales (Gladiator was only made for part of the year). Old Willys, Kaiser, and AMC-Jeep execs must be rolling in their graves, seeing this level of sales; Jeep’s numerous models all combined (including various pickups and wagons) sometimes had around a third of that number for U.S. sales.

In the “really old and nobody expected them to still be sold” category we have two unique platforms, the Journey and Caravan; Journey is based on Mitsubishi dimensions, and the Caravan goes back to 2008 with a 2011 refresh. Together they had roughly 200,000 sales. Few expect either of these vehicles to live past 2020—2021 at the latest. (Though technically the Caravan could survive as long as FCA really wants it to; with enough investment, it could gain a nine-speed. Whether it would be worth the investment, which would result in fewer Pacifica sales, is a question for the executives.)

Ram already combines all their pickups and chassis cabs, which are technically in two platforms, into one number (633,694). The two commercial vans are each on their own platform.

2020 Ram Built to Service pickup

If we put together the non-Fiat-based designs, we have 1.6 million U.S. sales; the Fiat-based designs add another 600,000, but the others could not have been made without them, partly because customers often ignore niche automakers, and partly because of fuel-economy rules and the need to spread investments over numerous vehicles. A 1.6-million-sales Chrysler might not have been able to afford enough powertrain investments to stay competitive.

Part of these numbers also reflect delays in new product; by now, the large cars, Journey, and big Jeeps should also be on new platforms, and the Caravan was probably not supposed to last this long. These numbers are also pure sales; profits are another question.

As time goes on, the midsize and compact cars and Jeeps are to move to newer Peugeot and FCA platforms; but Ram will spread its truck platforms into Jeep Wagoneers, and the Wrangler is unlikely to be leaving anytime soon.


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