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FCA US sales slightly down, despite some records (updated)

by David Zatz on

FCA US sales were slightly down for 2019, despite a handful of specific-model records; the final quarter saw a push in fleet sales, but this may have simply been due to selling a higher proportion of Ram trucks to commercial buyers.

Ram set a record of 190,655 sales in the fourth quarter, 703,023 for the year. That was a stunning 18% increase over 2018, and Ram’s best sales in its ten-year history. The Jeep Grand Cherokee also had a full-year record, hitting 242,969 sales.


The year saw a great deal of red ink everywhere but at Ram, whose eponymous pickups did very well—an 18% gain, from 538,980 sales to 633,694 for the year. The next most popular Ram was the ProMaster, a Fiat commercial van with a Mopar gasoline engine and transmission (a Fiat diesel powertrain is also available), and a heavily reworked suspension; on the heels of a redesign, the ProMaster saw a 21% sales increase, hitting 56,409. The City version, which stayed closer to the Fiat version, declined by 6% to fewer than 13,000 sales.

The worst of the brands was, not surprisingly, Fiat itself, falling 41% to 9,200 sales, divided over four cars; the 500 remained most popular and the updated 500L barely registered. Alfa Romeo did better but was not much of a success, with sales falling 23% to 18,292. The Stelvio crossover led the charts, with just 9,444 sales (enough to beat all Fiats combined), down 22% from 2018; the Giulia was down by 24%.

Tying for worst was Chrysler, also down 23%, but boasting 126,971 sales over just two vehicles (not counting 53 sales of old 200s and Town & Countrys). 300 sales plummeted by 37%, to 29,213, as the full-size car market has stalled out across the US (with some exceptions); the Pacifica minivan fell by 17%, to 97,705. If there were any Voyager sales in 2019, they must have been subsumed under the Pacifica.

Jeep was the second best brand after Ram, and also FCA’s most popular brand—which would probably have stunned anyone from 1946 through around 2000. Jeep’s 5% drop only took them down to 923,291 sales, which beat Ram by a couple of hundred thousand and was more than double Dodge’s total. As usual, the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler fought for first place, each coming near a quarter of a million sales. Though its replacement is coming, Grand Cherokee sales actually rose by 8%, Wrangler sales fell by 5%, between a superb 2018 and high prices for the JL. But if you add Gladiators to the Wrangler, there’s another 40,047 sales—keeping in mind that many predicted the Gladiator would be good for just 40,000 sales per year, globally. That makes the JL/JT good for well over a quarter-million, and also accounts for some of the 5% drop in Wrangler sales.

The reason Jeep sales fell was named “Cherokee,” which dropped by 20% to 191,397. The Cherokee was last year’s top seller, and this year’s #3. The Compass also fell, by 16%, to 143,934. The Renegade fell by 21%, to 76,885, but it’s a mildly hard sell with the Compass here.

Finally, we reach Dodge, one of the oldest brands in Fiat Chrysler’s stable. The Charger and Durango both posted sales gains (21% and 3%), and there the good news ends; the Challenger dropped by 9% to a still-respectable 60,997, the ancient Journey fell 21% to 74,686, and the Caravan fell by 19% to 122,648 (still tens of thousands ahead of the newer Pacifica). Overall, Dodge fell by 8%. Still, the fact that the Journey and Caravan are selling at all is fairly amazing, given their age; and the Charger’s success, with 96,935 sales in a market where sedans are passé, is nothing short of incredible. (As is the fact that a “muscle car brand” has a minivan as its sales leader).


As for the quarter, Ram was up by 6%, Dodge was down by 9%, Chrysler was down by 15%, and Jeep was down by 2%; overall, FCA US was down by 2% for the quarter, and by just 1% for the year. The  winners for the fourth quarter were the Wrangler (up 6%), Pacifica (up 3%), Ram pickup/chassis cab (up 7%) big ProMaster (1%), and Charger (up 23%). The biggest lowers were the Cherokee (down 30%), 300 (down 54%), Journey (down 27%), Caravan (down 25%), and all Fiats save the 500L, which only had 166 sales anyway.



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