Yes, last month may have been the Chrysler Group’s best September sales results since 2007, but they’re not exactly stellar results, either. According to the automaker, it sold 143,017 cars and trucks in September of 2013, an increase of one percent – or 976 vehicles – over last September. That’s also a decrease of 22,535 vehicles from August 2013, and Chrysler’s fourth-lowest monthly result in 2013.
Of Chrysler’s three brands, only three – Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler – posted an increase over last September. Strong pickup sales – some 28,145 of the 28,569 vehicles Ram sold last month - helped Ram manage an eight-percent sales increase year over year. With 48,576 vehicles sold, Dodge eked out a minor 3-percent year-over-year increase, even if its volumes withered by 4102 cars compared to August.
Fiat and Jeep, however, had a much more difficult time in September. Compared with last September, Jeep volumes fell by 1781 units, a drop attributed largely to the discontinuation of the Liberty in 2012, illustrating that the new 2014 Cherokee can’t come quickly enough. Despite the addition of the 500L five-door, Fiat saw its September volume cut by nearly 1000 cars compared to last year, as 500 sales – despite being roughly 60 units shy of the monthly average in 2013 – dropped 49 percent year-over year.
“Even though industry sales dipped during September, Chrysler managed to eke out a slight sales increase for the month,” notes Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s U.S. sales chief, in a prepared release. “Our dealers had two less selling days in September compared with a year ago, but they still outperformed the industry and extended our sales streak.”
On that note, we should mention that Ford’s September sales beat Chrysler’s by just over 42,000 units; General Motors’ September sales figures, despite dropping by 11 percent year-to-year, were still some 44,000 units above Chrysler’s.
So, which Chrysler products had a good month, and which ones didn’t?
Dodge Durango: 4964 units, up 66 percent year-over-year
Dodge’s three-row variant of the Jeep Grand Cherokee had long been towards the back of Chrysler’s sales charts, but in recent months, its fortunes have improved slightly. September wasn’t the Durango’s best month in 2013(it was its fourth-best month), but compared to the same period last year, volumes more than doubled.
Dodge Dart: 7922 units, up 51 percent year over year
Good news – not only were Dart volumes up 1021 units from the month prior, but September was also the Dart’s third-best month in 2013, trailing only March and April. Bad news: Dart volumes were still roughly 4000 units behind the Chevrolet Cruze, and trailed the Ford Focus by over 8000 units last month.
Dodge Charger: 8713 units, up 49% year-over-year
September wasn’t the Charger’s best sales month this year (for your trivia purposes, it was the Charger’s fourth-best), but it did mark a 1265-car improvement over the 7448 cars sold in August, and a 3513-unit jump over the dismal 5200 examples sold in July. The Charger outsold its Chrysler 300 sibling by 3677 units, and was the second-best-selling passenger car in the Chrysler Group portfolio last month.
Fiat 500: 2126 units, down 49 percent year-over-year
September wasn’t kind to the 500 – in fact, not only was last month the 500’s worst sales month in 2013, it also trailed the model’s 2013 monthly sales average by some 1100 units. It’s also the 500’s worst monthly result since January of 2012.
Dodge Avenger, 5099 units, down 41 percent year-over-year
Incentives have helped prop up volumes of Dodge’s aging midsize sedan, but despite offering $1000-1500 on the hood of the Avenger, volumes dropped like a rock last month. The 5099 units sold in September 2013 is not only 41 percent down from last September, but it’s also a 1252-car decrease from August of 2013, and a 1032-unit drop from July 2013. The 5099-unit volume is also roughly 3600 units shy the Avenger’s 2013 monthly average, and according to Chrysler’s data, it’s also the model’s worst result thus far in 2013.
Dodge Grand Caravan, 10,946 units, down 19 percent year-over-year
You’d think the less expensive Grand Caravan would be the volume leader of Chrysler’s pair of minivans, but in 2013, Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country models have largely been neck and neck with one another. Grand Caravan volumes rang in at 10,946, a 19-percent year-over-year drop – which, at only 314 units more than the Town & Country, essentially makes this a photo finish. Thus far in 2013, the Grand Caravan does lead the Town & Country in sales, 91,570 to the Chrysler’s 90,701.
CHRYSLER’S BEST SELLERS IN SEPTEMBER, BY VOLUME
1. Ram Pickups: 28,145
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 14,906
3. Jeep Wrangler: 11,984
4. Dodge Grand Caravan: 10,946
5. Chrysler Town & Country: 10,632
CHRYSLER’S BEST-SELLERS YTD 2013, BY VOLUME
1. Ram Pickups: 262,787
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 128,697
3. Jeep Wrangler: 119,941
4. Chrysler 200: 102,859
5. Dodge Grand Caravan, 91,570