Dodge Rallies for FCA, But Chrysler, Fiat U.S. Sales Lag

Chrysler’s seemingly doomed 200 model saw sales plunge 60.2%, driving down overall sales for the brand by 15.7%. Jeep and Ram models continued in high demand.

David Zoia Editor, Executive Director-Content

February 2, 2016

2 Min Read
Dodge got a boost from its reardrive cars
Dodge got a boost from its rear-drive cars.

East Coast storms didn’t seem to slow FCA U.S. in January, as the automaker posted a double-digit sales gain on the continued strength of its Jeep and Ram brands, plus a reversal of fortune for Dodge.

FCA’s 15.7% increase in daily sales (two fewer days than year-ago) on a volume of 153,989 marked the best January in nine years for the automaker and its 70th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Unlike recent months, it wasn’t all about Jeep and Ram for FCA in January, though those brands did well. Ram deliveries rose 13.5% daily, according to WardsAuto data, with both the pickup and ProMaster series posting gains. Jeep sales jumped a healthy 24.1%, thanks mainly to the new Renegade, though Compass (up 27.7%) and Patriot (18.5%) also recorded healthy increases.

“Mother Nature was no match for our Jeep brand last month, as we recorded our best January Jeep sales ever,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, says in a statement.

But more surprising was the performance of FCA’s Dodge brand, which saw strong results from several model lines, including its Charger (41.3%) and Challenger (20.0%) rear-drive car pair and soon-to-exit Journey (30.1%) and Grand Caravan (98.0%) models. The Durango SUV saw demand soar 83.7% daily on 6,079 deliveries. It was the brand’s best January in three years.

Seriously lagging was the Chrysler brand, where an alarming 60.2% plunge in 200 sales drove overall sales down 15.7%. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated last week the automaker would turn its focus to the Jeep and Ram brands and that any future in compact cars likely would need to involve a partnership with another automaker.

That may have impacted demand for the 200, which doesn’t appear to have life beyond the current model. Its Dodge Dart sibling, headed for a similar fate, suffered a 36.8% decline in sales.

Also failing to get traction is the Fiat brand. Sales of the new 500X weren’t enough to offset severe drops in demand for the base 500 and long-wheelbase 500L models, as overall sales slid 13.7% daily to 2,594. Fiat is counting on the upcoming new 124 Spider roadster, a badge-engineered version of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, to help boost the brand, but that car doesn’t reach showrooms until this summer.

FCA says it ended January with 666,652 vehicles in inventory, equivalent to a 103-day supply.

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About the Author(s)

David Zoia Editor

Executive Director-Content

Dave writes about autonomous vehicles, electrification and other advanced technology and industry trends.

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