Chrysler Group ended 2012 on a high note. Not only did the company record a 10-percent year-over-year sales increase in December 2012, it also reported that its total sales last year eclipsed those of 2011 by a whopping 21 percent. The positive results come at the end of a year in which Chrysler continually grew its market share and sales volume. In fact, December marked the 33rd consecutive month in which the company's sales climbed year-over-year.
Chrysler -- 25,513 sales, up six percent
A fairly modest increase in December couldn't hide the fact that the Chrysler brand finished 2012 with 39 percent more sales than the year before. In fact, last year Chrysler enjoyed its best sales results since 2008, just before the company entered bankruptcy. Leading the charge last month was the Town & Country minivan, down four percent to 9258 monthly sales -- but overall last year, the model enjoyed an 18-percent sales boost compared to 2011.Chrysler 200 sales fell one percent in December to 9080 units, but the car still ended the year up 44 percent year-over-year. The Chrysler 300 enjoyed a 40-percent hike to 7175 monthly sales, and posted the Chrysler brand's biggest annual gain at 95 percent year-over-year.
Dodge -- 52,391 sales, up 26 percent
The hardworking Dodge brand enjoyed a more modest annual sales gain of 16 percent last year, with the Grand Caravan minivan once again representing the biggest chunk of the sales pie. Its sales rose 19 percent last month, to 14,160 sales, giving the Grand Caravan 28 percent more sales last year than in 2011. The next-best seller was the Charger, with monthly sales up nine percent to 7867 units, and an overall increase of 18 percent. The Journey crossover managed 7688 sales, a nine-percent monthly increase and enough to propel the model to 18-percent higher annual sales than in 2011. The Avenger sedan followed with 7382 sales in December, up 19 percent, and ended the year up a whopping 51 percent versus 2011.
Because it was only on sale for half of the year, the new 2013 Dart sedan was Dodge's slowest selling vehicle in 2012. The car recorded 6105 sales last month, bringing its total volume thus far to 25,303 units. Even so, two models fared even worse on a monthly basis. The Dodge Durango sold 5216 copies last month, up nine percent year-over-year as the SUV suffered an 18-percent annual sales drop; the Challenger muscle car got a 20-percent boost to 3942 sales in December, and saw total annual sales rise nine percent year-over-year.
Jeep -- 39,871 sales, down nine percent
Jeep was the only Chrysler division to see its sales fall off in December, which the company attributes to the fact that production of the Liberty SUV ended in August. With just 3508 sales last month, the Liberty was down 43 percent from its sales pace in December 2011. And even though several other models saw modest sales dips for December, overall they reported stronger yearly sales than in 2011. The Grand Cherokee, for instance, saw its figures fall one percent to 17,121 units last month,yet still finished the year up 21 percent compared to 2011.
The Jeep Patriot posted a four-percent gain to finish December with 4566 sales, bringing its annual tally up 13 percent year-over-year; the Wrangler enjoyed a one-percent bump to 11,545 monthly sales, and finished 2012 with a 16-percent greater volume than the year before. The Jeep Compass, however, truly struggled -- it was down 26 percent in December to 3131 sales and down 16 percent overall for the entire year.
Ram -- 30,885 sales, up 16 percent
The ever-popular truck segment helped return high figures for the Ram brand -- it reported its best annual sales since 2007, with volume up 17 percent year-over-year. The Ram pickup line led the charge with 30,211 sales last month, up 16 percent and enough for the model to finish the year 20-percent stronger than in 2011. With a total of 293,363 units sold, the Ram pickup truck was once again Chrysler Group's top-selling vehicle. The Ram Cargo Van, which is based on the company's minivans, posted just 674 sales in December; it was new last year so sales gains cannot be compared.
Fiat -- 3707 sales, up 59 percent
Called it the little Italian runabout that could. After a disappointing 19,769 sales last year, the Fiat 500 saw its overall sales jump 121 percent to a total of 43,772 this year. For those keeping track at home, that means the "slow selling" Fiat 500 beat out company mainstays like the Dodge Challenger and Durango, and Jeep Compass in this year's sales race. The key to the success? More variants, like the hot Abarth and warmed-up 500 Turbo, as well as a larger dealer network and improved marketing efforts. Oh, and this year Fiat sold more than 50,000 copies of its 500 in North America -- meeting a goal set for the brand when it launched in the U.S. in late 2010.