Posting its 54th month in a row of year-over-year sales growth, Chrysler announced sales of 169,890 total units in September, a 19 percent increase. Again, Jeep is simply dominating the sales charts within the Chrysler portfolio both in terms of volume (55,231 units) and with a 47 percent sales improvement over last year. The brand is now 45 percent ahead of its year-to-date sales in 2013, while next-best Ram is ahead 25 percent in year-to-date sales compared to 2013 and 35 percent in September.
Winner: Jeep Cherokee, 14,639 Units Sold
Whether or not you like the crossover’s adventurous styling and trademark eye-slit headlamps, America seems to be ga-ga for them. The Cherokee was again Jeep’s best-seller last month, outpacing the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, which delivered 13,955 and 12,854 in respective sales. Jeep has now sold 128,133 Cherokee units through 2014, and its performance in September represented the best Jeep brand sales ever in that month. Jeep has now set sales records in every single month so far in 2014, and the addition of the Jeep Cherokee is a big part of that storyline.
Winner: Ram Pickups, 36,612 Units Sold, Up 30 Percent
Popularity for Ram pickups continues to increase, leading to yet another impressive sales month. Light duty sales boomed 21 percent, while sales of the Heavy Duty trucks grew 49 percent. Ram’s 319,868 pickups sold through September 2014 put it 22 percent ahead of its position at the same time last year, and has helped push year-to-date sales for the brand at large to 337,148, which is 25 percent more than where Ram stood at the end of September 2013. Demand for Ram models has been so large that Chrysler is increasing production at the Warren, Michigan assembly plant to churn out 100 more vehicles per day—28,585 more per year. Customers have shown their desire for increased fuel efficiency by buying the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel in significant quantities. As a result, Ram recently announced that production of the Ram 1500 would be modified to reflect a greater share of Ecodiesels rolling off of the production line—now up to 20 percent of regular capacity. The Ford F-Series, meanwhile, continued to trounce Ram and tallied 59,863 sales in September.
Winner: Dodge Viper, 108 Units Sold, Up 140 Percent
After months of struggling to sell Vipers, Dodge figured out the solution was to slash prices. After cutting the price of the 2015 and 2014 Dodge Viper by $15,000, customers are finally willing to throw down the cash for the sports car’s beefy V-10. Clearly the profit margins won’t be as desirable per vehicle sold, but 108 cars sold at a discount is a whole lot better than 45 cars sold at full price, which is how many SRT managed to sell in September 2013.
Loser: Dodge Brand, 44,020 Units Sold, Down 9 Percent
While the Viper may be turning things around a bit, the rest of Dodge is still in the gutter. As Dodge tries to reposition itself as a performance-driven brand, sales continue to languish. Total brand deliveries in September added up to only 44,020, further dragging year-to-date sales down to 4 percent below that of last year, for a grand total of 443,957 vehicles. The Dodge Avenger, which will soon be discontinued, posted the biggest loss of 67 percent, with 1667 vehicles sold compared to 5099 last September. The only models in the black for the month were the Dodge Journey and the Dodge Caravan, at increases of 4 and 3 percent, respectively.
Loser: Fiat 500L, 623 Units Sold, Down 40 Percent
Yikes. It was another rough month for the 500L, after selling just 38 units last month. The smaller Fiat 500 managed to grow its sales by 29 percent to 2737 units, but the 500L could use a major pick-me-up as of late. We’ll see if a new six-speed automatic transmission for 2015 can turn things around for the bubble-shaped Italian compact.
Wait and See: Chrysler 200, 10,995 Units Sold, Up 15%
The Chrysler 200 is definitely showing some promise. While it is still possible that sales figures for the sedan are affected by the last-gen model’s leftovers being sold at a discount, this past month was the best September ever for the 200 nameplate. Deliveries are still well short of the competition, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out if the all-new Chrysler 200 can really hang with the pack.