March 2014 was a bounce-back month for many in the auto industry, after brutal winter weather in the beginning of the year hurt sales and delayed deliveries. Chrysler Group announced a sales total of 193,915 cars last month, a 25 percent increase compared to February 2014 sales. Chrysler posted its best March since 2007, improving its sales 13 percent over the previous March. The boom, as it was last month, can be credited to strong truck sales rather than car sales, which dipped 25 percent beneath that of March 2013.
Winner: Jeep Brand, Up 47 Percent
Jeep continues its unimpeded success, growing its sales 47 percent over last March. It was the brand’s best sales month ever, with 57,983 units sold. Every single Jeep model posted monthly and year-to-date sales increases, with the Jeep Grand Cherokee leading the way at 15,940 units sold for March and 40,838 so far in 2014. Sales of the Jeep Cherokee continue to boom, with 13,796 units sold compared to February’s 11,795.
Winner: Fiat Brand, Up 24 Percent
Fiat has been on the losing side of sales for months now, but this past March shows signs of life from the small-car manufacturer. Fiat sold 4,783 vehicles in March, bringing year-to-date sales to 11,425—a 19 percent improvement over this time last year. Although the Fiat 500 is down 13 percent compared to March 2013, the Fiat 500L sold a promising 1,422 units. While that might not sound like a lot, it represents a statistically significant boost over last month’s dismal 801 units sold. Don’t count Fiat out just yet, especially with warmer-weather months ahead.
Winner: Dodge Caravan, 14,165 Units Sold, Up 27 Percent
While the market has definitely shifted away from minivans and toward crossovers in the last decade, the Dodge Caravan remains competitive in sales. Caravan was the best-selling Dodge model in March, and its 32,025 in year-to-date sales remain far ahead of the Journey’s second-best 23,024 vehicles sold.
Winner: Ram Pickup, 42,532 Units Sold, Up 26 Percent
Ram kept chugging along in March 2014, with its best March sales in ten years. Ram managed to stay on top during the first two months of 2014, but returned last month with even stronger numbers. February sales totaled 29,303, and this past month sales ballooned 45 percent. Year-to-date sales for the Ram pickup are creeping toward the 100,000-unit mark just three months into the year, with 96,906 total units sold so far in 2014.
Loser: Chrysler 200, 7,531 Units Sold, Down 55 Percent
After an excellent February, Chrysler 200 sales slid dramatically. Not only did the 200’s number pale in comparison to last year’s 16,593, but performance also dropped from last month’s 12,046. Chrysler attributes this to the car ending production before it is replaced with a next-gen model later this year, but the Chrysler brand continues to suffer in the meantime. Brand sales dropped 23 percent and are down 9 percent year-over-year.
Loser: Dodge Dart, 6,135 Units Sold, Down 24 Percent
It’s looking fairly bleak for the Dodge Dart, which continued its downward slide this month. Sales improved compared to last month’s 4,888, but that’s not really saying much in the grand scheme of things. Year-to-date sales are down 30 percent to 16,074 units sold, and the Dart is even failing to outsell the now-cancelled Dodge Avenger (8,756 units this month and 21,740 so far in 2014). Early in its lifecycle still, the Dart is in need of big changes if it wants to make a dent in the hyper-competitive small-car marketplace.