Chrysler Group LLC today (July 3) reported U.S. sales of 144,811 units, a 20% increase compared with sales in June 2011 (120,394 units), and the group’s best June sales since 2007.
The Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands each posted sales increases in June compared with the same month a year ago. Chrysler Group recorded its 27th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains in June. Chrysler Group’s second-quarter sales were up 24% versus the same period last year, according to a news release.
The FIAT brand set a sales record for the fifth consecutive month and the brand’s 122% year-over-year sales gain was the largest percentage increase of any Chrysler Group brand in June. More Fiat 500 vehicles were sold during the first six months of this year than during all of 2011.
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart compact car has started to arrive in dealership showrooms across the country. The first sales of the highly-anticipated Dart are included in the June sales table. More than 1,000 Dodge dealers, eager to drive their first Dodge Dart back to their dealerships, converged on 12 “Dart Drive Away” events held around the country, some traveling distances greater than 500 miles to attend.
“June was another solid month for the Chrysler Group with U.S. sales up 20% and second-quarter sales increasing 24% compared with the same period in 2011,” said Reid Bigland, president and CEO – Dodge Brand and head of U.S. Sales. “June also marked our 27th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth. Continuous improvement remains a key focus at Chrysler as we have steadily increased sales, improved quality, added production and created jobs.”
As the Fiat 500 was setting its June sales record, five other Chrysler Group models also posted record sales. For the third time in the last 12 months, the iconic Jeep Wrangler set an all-time monthly sales record. The Dodge brand had three record setters in June. The sporty Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan, the Dodge Challenger muscle car, and the Dodge Journey full-size crossover each set a sales record for the month of June. Rounding out the month’s pacesetters, the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan set a sales record for the month of June.
Also contributing to Chrysler Group’s 20% increase was the Chrysler 300 flagship sedan with a convincing 179% gain. The Chrysler Town & Country minivan and Jeep Grand Cherokee each logged sales increases of more than 30% while the Ram pickup truck, with its 12% increase, recorded its 26th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and best June since 2007.
Chrysler Group finished the month with a 67-days supply of inventory (358,260 units). U.S. industry sales figures for June are projected at an estimated 14.4 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).
Although it’s not time for a celebration yet, the U.S. auto industry in September posted its best monthly wholesale sales rate in 13 months. The industry sold 959,049 light vehicles in September — a year-to-year jump of 29% — for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.2 million, as calculated by the Automotive News Data Center.
Inventories last September were depleted in the aftermath of the federal government’s cash-for-clunkers incentive program, Automotive News reported.
Other than August 2009 when the clunkers program inflated the sales rate to 13.7 million, last month was the first since September of 2008 during which sales surpassed 12 million. The rate in September 2008 also was 12.2 million.
“It’s a solid month, another step in a stable, somewhat painful recovery,” said analyst Jesse Toprak of TrueCar.com. “This may be a healthier way to recover.”
George Pipas, Ford Motor Co.’s lead sales analyst, said September capped the fourth straight quarter of modest recovery in the pace of U.S. auto sales.
And modest improvement may be acceptable at this point, he said, in that it may keep industry players from falling back into the bad habits — overproduction and massive incentives — that led to disaster for so many companies when U.S. auto sales tanked.
“We’re happy with what we’re getting,” Pipas noted. “We’re not going to waste a lot of time wishing that things would go quicker.”
Looking at the big picture:
* Ford’s sales jumped 40% to 160,375 on strong sales of pickups and new models such as the Fiesta subcompact.
* General Motor’s sales rose 11% in September to 173,031, including its four discontinued brands. However, its core brands — Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC — rose 22% while retail sales of those core brands jumped 39%.
* Chrysler Group posted the biggest year-over-year increase of any manufacturer for the month, rising 61% to 100,077.