Chris Woodyard of USA Today wrote that Chrysler's strategy to increase sales in California has worked, in a big way: the brand more than doubled sales in the year to date (through the end of September), compared with the same period in 2011. In addition to Chrysler brand, Jeep gained by 35% (the sixth highest gain in California) and Dodge rose by 23.5%, according to the California New Car Dealers' Association (CNCDA) and Experian.

Other brands with major growth included Kia (62%), Toyota/Scion (up 42% as it recovers from natural disasters in Japan), and Subaru (up 36%).



Californians buy more cars each year than residents of any other state, making it a key market. The state is passenger-car biased, with traditional cars accounting for 63% of sales, SUVs for 24%, and pickups coming in with a mere 13%.  The Detroit companies have had a relatively small market share in California: 30% in 2010 and 32% in 2011. The best selling cars in nearly ever segment are foreign, with the best-selling Chrysler minivan achieving a mere 6% market share year-to-date -- competing with Quest rather than Sienna (41%) and Odyssey (37%).  Indeed, the only categories (of 16 listed by the CNCDA) where domestics took top place were sporty compacts, full size pickups, and full size SUVs.

Fiat 500 managed an 11% share in entry-level; while Challenger was third in Sporty Compact. Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger took the top two spots in Large Mid-Size (22% and 23%), beating Maxima and Avalon; Ram took fourth place in pickups (15%), after Tundra, beating only Sierra; and Wrangler took fifth in compact SUVs (8%), losing heavily to CRV and RAV4. The only other category where a Chrysler brand appeared at all was Grand Cherokee taking fourth in mid-sized SUVs (12%), not far from Toyota Highlander (15%), Honda Pilot (15%), and Ford Edge (14%).

Overall, Chrysler's market share in California remains a mere 2%, with Dodge at 3%, Fiat  under 1%, and Ram at 1%. Toyota/Scion is top dog with an 18% share.