Sales of Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Fiat products jumped 16 percent last month to 117,731 units, making January 2013 Chrysler's best January since 2008. Here are a selection of winners and losers:
Winners: Chrysler 200 (8846 sales, up 26 percent); Dodge Avenger (9628 sales, up 69 percent)
The 200 was up 26 percent, and the Avenger climbed 69 percent over January 2012 (setting a January sales record). With combined sales of 18,474, it's enough to make the Chrysler mid-size sedans one of the more popular platforms in the mid-size market.
Winner: Dodge Challenger (3497 sales, up 37 percent)
Sales of the Dodge Challenger climbed 37 percent last month to 3497. The Dodge muscle car still trails behind competitors like the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, but it did have its greatest month of January on record.
Winners: Jeep Patriot (5248 sales, up 32 percent) and Compass (3116 sales, up 33 percent)
Jeep's duo of small crossovers also had a great month: the Patriot climbed 32 percent to 5248 sales, setting another January sales record. The Compass, meanwhile, jumped 33 percent to 3116 sales in its best month of January since 2007.
Winner: Fiat 500 (2503 sales, up 31 percent)
The Chrysler Group's sales sheet is filled with models that set January sales records, including the Fiat 500: the minicar rang up 2503 sales last month, 31 percent higher than January 2012. It was enough to make January 2013 Fiat's best January ever.
Loser: Jeep Liberty (2035 sales, down 70 percent)
Only one of Jeep's models didn't increase in sales last month, and it was the Liberty. The Liberty plunged 70 percent to 2035 sales, making it one of Chrysler's worst performing cars or trucks. But we'll give the Liberty a free pass: the SUV is due for a well publicized overhaul in 2014 (we'll see the final production car in New York next month). Jeep is really just selling through its inventory at this point as the current Liberty’s production stopped in August 2012. Still, the Liberty's poor performance in the sales sheet dragged Jeep down: thanks to the Liberty, Jeep was the only Chrysler group brand that didn’t post a sales gain last month.
Loser: Dodge Grand Caravan (4965 sales, down 39 percent)
The Dodge Grand Caravan doesn't get a free pass for its performance, however. The Caravan dipped to 4965 sales, some 39 percent lower than January 2012. It's a perplexing development: during the same month, sales of the Chrysler Town and Country jumped 16 percent to 6525. It appears that the Grand Caravan will continue on as a minivan even when the Chrysler Town and Country becomes a crossover, so here's hoping that the Grand Caravan inherits the Town and Country's success.