The big question at Chrysler was whether the wave of refreshed and redesigned 2011 vehicles would pay off in sales. From the looks of February's number, they are on the right track with a jump of 13 percent.
Chrysler – 12,628 units total, down 25 percent
Seeing the Chrysler brand in the red and down 25 percent can be off-putting, but it’s all about damage control at this point. The year-over-year sales loss stems from steep declines with two outgoing models: the 300 (1323 sold and down 71 percent) and Sebring (681 sold and off 78 percent). The good news is the Sebring’s successor, the 200, managed to sell 2319 midsize sedans in February. In January 2011, early buyers took just 765 200s, though we’d attribute that to inventory issues.
It’s business as usual with the Town & Country. The minivan totaled 7904 sold, easily making up over 60 percent of Chrysler’s sales. For the month of February, the T&C is down 9 percent.
Dodge – 33,561 units total, up 2 percent
Like the Chrysler 300, we expect growing anticipation for the new Charger led to the car’s heavy sales drop. Dodge sold 3263 Chargers in February (down 69 percent), but witnessed growth for all other vehicles except for the dropped Viper (10 sold, down 58 percent). The greatest year-over-year jump came from the Durango, which is up 34,038 percent (2731 sold) after selling a grand total of 8 in February 2010.
The undisputed Dodge sales king is the Grand Caravan. It’s up 12 percent in February with 10,555 units sold, and is currently the second-bestselling vehicle in the entire Chrysler fleet. By volume, the Journey follows with 4884 sold (up 18 percent). After, the order goes Avenger (3477 sold, up 1 percent), Caliber (3445 sold, up 52 percent), Charger, and Challenger (3227 sold, up 50 percent).
Bringing up Dodge’s rear is the Nitro with 1969 sold (up 64 percent) and Viper.
As it has become customary to collect muscle car numbers, the Challenger currently stands at 5753 sold through February 2011, up 50 percent.
Jeep – 28,619 units total, up 23 percent
Predictably, the Grand Cherokee (8667 sold, up 31 percent) and Wrangler (7636 sold, up 28 percent) lead the off-road pack. It appears the discontinued Commander has finally run its course after selling exactly zero in February (the full-size SUV moved 96 in January 2011).
The Jeep model that grew the most year-over-year was the Liberty with 5896 sold (up 61 percent). The Patriot capped off February with 4153 units (up 39 percent), while the Compass brought 2267 sales last month (up 19 percent). From here, it looks like clear sailing at the Jeep camp.
Ram – 20,294 units total, up 81 percent
Rising gas prices apparently did little to temper pickup truck sales. Once again, the full-size Ram line single-handedly outsold the entire Chrysler brand with 18,644 total trucks for February (up 82 percent). Midsize truck buyers also stepped up for the Dakota, tallying 1650 sales in all (up 85 percent).
With even more sales expected as the year progresses, Chrysler reports it has a 68-day supply (versus 89 days at the end of January). Current inventory sits at 269,107 vehicles.