Chrysler Sales Jump 44 Percent in January, Driven by 200, Charger, Ram

Call it another standout month for the folks in Auburn Hills: the Chrysler Group posted a 44 percent sales increase in the first month of 2012, selling 101,149 units and posting the best month of January since 2008. If Chrysler seems to keep mentioning 2008, it would be with good reason: January continued a sales trend over the past few months that puts the automaker’s bankruptcy and sales woes distinctly behind it.

Chrysler: 17,604 Sales, Up 81 Percent

Chrysler sales were up in a big way, thanks to the continued upward trend by the 200 and 300 sedans. The 200 sold 7007 units last month, up 789 percent from the same time in January 2010, and enough to make it Chrysler’s most popular product. The 300 sedan was up 273 percent to 4960 sales last month. The only nameplate in the red for Chrysler was the Town and Country minivan, which closed January with 14 percent fewer sales than last year, at 5637.

Dodge: 31,454 Sales, Up 29 Percent

Dodge’s sales bump came thanks to three cars, all of which have a Chrysler or Jeep version: the Avenger, Charger, and Durango. Like the Chrysler 200, 300, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the three cars posted serious increases: the Avenger was up 146 percent to 5697 sold, the Charger was up 169 percent to 5537 sold, and the Durango was up 152 percent to 3021 sold.

Those three cars buoyed the rest of the nameplate, which largely stayed flat: the Challenger coupe edged up one percent to 2551 sales, while the Journey crossover rose six percent to 4226 sales. Meanwhile, the Grand Caravan bumped up four percent to 8094 sales, making it the strongest model to wear the Dodge badge.

Two of Dodge’s three tanking models have good reasons: the Caliber, which dropped 52 percent to 1149 sales, is dead, and the Viper, which dropped 68 percent to 20 sales, hasn’t been built since some time in 2010 and is awaiting a new model. As for the Nitro crossover, the 41 percent drop in sales to 1159 could signal that the model is drifting towards death, but Chrysler has yet to confirm as much.

Fiat: 1911 Sales

The diminutive duo of the Fiat 500 and 500C convertible sold just 1911 units last month. While there’s nothing to compare that to in January of 2011, we would say that simple math would suggest that selling 50,000 units – the brand’s original goal for 2011 – this year will be quite difficult unless the brand starts posting twice this month’s volume later this year.

Jeep: Up 37 Percent to 31,710

Jeep is also continuing the Chrysler success story: all five of the brand’s SUVs were up double digits last month. That charge was led by the Liberty and Compass: the Liberty spiked 68 percent to 6825 units sold, while the Compass jumped 64 percent to 2340 sales. The Grand Cherokee, Jeep’s most popular model, enjoyed a 40 percent bump to 10,683 sales, while the Wrangler sold 7896 units last month, up 23 percent from January 2010. The Patriot was the smallest winner of the Jeep brand, but it still increased 15 percent to 3966 units sold, a respectable bump.

Ram: Up 42 Percent to 18,470

As the Ram brand loses the classic Dakota--which dropped 81 percent to just 155 sales--it’s seeing new sales in the form of the Ram Cargo Van, which sold 406 units last month. The vast majority of the sales increase for the brand came from its namesake, the Ram Pickup, which jumped 47 percent to 17,909 sales. Surprising exactly no one, the Ram continues to be the Chrysler group’s most popular model, by a long margin.

Source: The Chrysler Group

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