FCA US Shakes Off Cold for Sales Gain
Ward’s Auto| James M. Amend | Feb 01, 2019
FCA sold 135,396 cars, trucks and CUVs in January compared with 131,896 in the period last year, according to Wards Intelligence.
Despite a deep freeze affecting much of the country, FCA US sales rise 2.7% in January on brisk deliveries of key products such as its Ram 1500 light-duty large pickup and Jeep Wrangler midsize SUV.
Reid Bigland, head of U.S. at FCA, says the Italian-American automaker is optimistic about the market with one month in the books and expects a string of fresh products to further buoy its sales this year.
“In spite of some frigid January weather, we remain bullish on 2019 given the continued underlying strength of the U.S. economy,” Bigland says in statement. “We expect a good cadence of new product throughout the year, led by our Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks and Jeep Gladiator midsize truck in the first half of this year.”
FCA unveiled the heavy-duty Ram at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, boasting of the big truck’s prodigious 1,000 lb.-ft. (1,355 Nm) of torque, 35,100-lb. (15,921-kg) tow rating and 7,680-lb. (3,484-kg) payload limit. The pickup’s advertising has kicked off with a social-media and digital campaign linked to the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, although the automaker will not broadcast a commercial in the big game for the first time in several years.
The Gladiator is a much-anticipated pickup version of the Wrangler and is expected to give FCA a strong position in a suddenly popular segment, which also includes a redesigned Toyota Tacoma and all-new Ford Ranger.
FCA sold 135,396 cars, trucks and CUVs in January, compared with 131,896 in the period last year, according to Wards Intelligence. There were 25 selling days in the month, same as January 2018.
Ram brand sales increased 24% to 38,963 trucks, with pickup sales up 19% to 31,132. It marked the first January of availability for the redesigned Ram 1500, which saw deliveries jump 20.2% to 34,203 units from 28,451.
Sales of Jeep brand vehicles slipped 2.2% last month, but still managed 58,401 deliveries compared with 59,703 year-ago. Wrangler sales soared 10.9% to 13,024 units from 11,739 in like-2018, while deliveries of the Cherokee grew 3.5% to 15,138 units from 14,621. Grand Cherokee sales fell 7.9% to 15,075 units from 16,364.
Dodge sales contracted 1.9% to 27,077 vehicles from 27,600 in the year-ago period. The Journey CUV led the brand in terms of volume with sales of 7,232 units, which was more than double year-ago’s 3,362. Sales of the Caravan minivan tumbled 31.7% to 7,113 units from 10,409.
Chrysler sales dipped 14.5% to 9,054 units from 10,584 in the same period last year, pulled down by weaker demand for the brand’s volume-selling Pacifica. Deliveries of the minivan dropped 13.1% to 6,963 units from 8,011.
Elsewhere in the FCA realm, Alfa Romeo sales fell 30.2% to 1,150 units from 1,648 last year, while deliveries of Fiat vehicles declined 38.9% to 751 units from 1,229.