Sales for FCA US in March, relative to prior-year, fell 35.3% for the Chrysler brand, 43.1% for Fiat, 28.6% for Alfa Romeo, 7.9% for Jeep and 2.2% for Dodge, but the Ram truck brand’s 20.4% gain allowed the automaker to post a modest 3.9% drop in daily volume. There were 27 sales days in March 2019, down from 28 year-ago.
The automaker sold 199,177 vehicles in the U.S. in March. Since January, FCA US has sold 495,898 vehicles, down 3% from prior-year, according to daily sales data tracked by Wards.
There were few bright spots in the March numbers: The fourth-generation Jeep Wrangler (JL) launched a year ago, and its daily deliveries were down 18.2% to 21,963 units. Likewise for the second-generation Jeep Compass, which launched two years ago and saw a 10.4% daily decline to 14,945 units. Jeep Renegade and Cherokee sales fell 20.9% and 20.3%, respectively, to 7,449 and 18,262 vehicles.
The only Jeep model showing improvement was the Grand Cherokee, with daily sales up 30.4% to 24,665. The off-road brand also counts on growth as the all-new Gladiator pickup, based on Wrangler underpinnings, goes on sale in May.
The March results take FCA further from the business of selling cars as 90% of the monthly sales mix was light trucks, including pickups, SUVs, CUVs and minivans.
The Ram portfolio had a strong month, as the ProMaster cargo van more than doubled its daily volume (108.5%) to 4,928, while the smaller ProMaster City van was up 58.1% to 1,707 vehicles.
Far and away the volume leader was the still fairly new Ram pickup, up 14.0% in March and up 16.9% for the year. Its March tally of 44,057 vehicles outsold by a wide margin the entire Chrysler brand and nearly outpaced Dodge’s five-vehicle portfolio.
“Our Ram brand sales and average transaction prices continue to be strong,” says FCA’s U.S Head of Sales Reid Bigland.
“The industry had a tough first quarter but with spring finally starting to show its face and continued strong economic indicators, such as a boost in housing sales, lower lending rates and a strong labor market, we are confident that new vehicle sales demand will strengthen going forward,” Bigland says.
Within the Dodge brand, only the Durango and Charger posted daily sales gains of 17.1% and 8.0% to 6,626 and 8,858 units, respectively. The brand’s best seller was the previous-generation Caravan minivan, with 15,806 deliveries, up 0.6% on a daily basis from March 2018.
The Italian import brands, Alfa Romeo and Fiat, continue to struggle. The best seller among the two brands, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio CUV, recorded 898 deliveries last month, down 26.7% on a daily basis. Likewise, the Giulia sedan was down 30.7% to 858 units.
Fiat volumes remain on life support. Deliveries for the best-selling 500 compact coupe were down 26.8% to 310 units, while the 500X compact CUV was down 55.2% to 262 units in March.