By on July 1, 2010

A year ago, Chrysler used one word to qualify nearly every sales figure it gave in its June 2009 sales report: Retail. Today, Chrysler blithely reports that overall sales were up 35 percent, but fails to use the “R” word even once in its June 2010 release, suggesting that it benefited from heavy fleet sales in the face of an otherwise soggy market. How else do you sell 3,978 Sebrings and 6,400 Avengers in a month? The fact that Dodge saw a 67 percent increase, although that was largely in comparison to the utterly wretched June the brand endured last year. In fact, compared to its relatively strong May performance of 104,819 units, Chrysler shed about 10k sales, falling to 92,482 total sales. That’s under the 95k monthly “survival” rate cited by CEO Sergio Marchionne. All this while Chrysler spends an estimated $1.4b on advertising this year. This, to paraphrase another automotive blogger, is beyond the valley of the not so good.

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24 Comments on “Chrysler Sales Rise 35 Percent In June, Fail To Top 95k “Survival” Volume...”


  • avatar
    mjz

    Better to keep those factories humming with fleet sales then to have them sit idle. Real test will be when revised products start to hit this fall. Hopefully, Grand Cherokee is a harbinger for the future models.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      How would Chrysler being idle post-bankruptcy be a bad thing?

      It’s not like Ford & GM & Kia couldn’t use their capacity pick up the slack at their factories.

  • avatar

    Don’t count them out just yet. With all thos ad dollars everyone (pretty much) knows new things are coming out. So, I’d guess it’s natural some people are holding out for the new stuff. So, like said by the poster above, the conclusion of hopelessness or not is still a few months away.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Those future models can’t come quick enough for me. I work across the street from a Chrysler tranny plant and am subjected to those hideous rolling monstrosities everyday on my commute. I typically slow down and let the Sebring drivers pass me so I don’t have those hood strakes in my rearview. Funny that I rarely see them any where else. Retro designs like the Challenger, etc are getting pretty stale…..unique and cool for a while…..

  • avatar
    George B

    Chrysler is one gasoline price spike away from Carmageddon II. Overall volume is too low and their sales mix is way too dependent on vehicles that need affordable gasoline.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    TTAC has provided several charts today showing increased sales but saying that a lot of the sales are to fleet buyers.

    1. Is there anything wrong with fleet sales? Sales are sales aren’t they?

    2. How come businesses have the courage to add cars to their fleets but we consumers are reluctant to buy now?

    • 0 avatar

      Who’s reluctant? I bought a Wrangler a week ago.

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      Fleet sales are bad in a few ways from what I understand.

      First, and most obvious, is that cars sold to fleets are hugely discounted. Very little, if any profit generated.

      Second, most fleet cars are dumped on the used car market fairly quickly. This hurts both new car sales, and resale values. I mean, why spend $25000 on a new car, when you can get a year old used one for $13000?

      Finally, for Chrysler and GM, how many of these fleet sales are to government agencies? I saw the military “career” center around the corner has several new Avengers in front of it. And a few new Impalas. So the government basically paid for those cars to be built. Then bought them from themselves.

  • avatar
    mjz

    George B: Chrysler is very dependant on trucks/minvans/hemi sedans, but the cavalry is coming. New Fiat 500, Pentastar V-6’s, Multi-air engine tech and upgraded trannies courtesy of Fiat should soon reduce their precarious predicament.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      OK, *when* is it coming?

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      Does anyone here trust anything mechanical from FIAT?

      Also, with European market in deep trouble, is FIAT going to be alive in a year? If so, how long til its shareholders and bondholders pull the plug on the Chrysler experiment?

    • 0 avatar
      stuart

      > Does anyone here trust anything mechanical from FIAT?

      Yes. When I was a poor college student, I bought a dead 128 and an engine and assembled a car. I drove it for years, and yes, I suffered a lot of problems, but with hindsight I can see that most of my troubles were caused by the incompetence of previous mechanics. Really.

      The real problem is that FIAT (and a bunch of other European marques) never managed to achieve “critical mass” here in the USA. The air-cooled VW did achieve “critical mass,” and thus any non-technical VW owner could get his/her car fixed properly, almost anywhere in the USA.

      Compare to FIAT, where most smog technicians couldn’t reliably locate smog components (charcoal canisters &etc) on a FIAT during a CA smog check. I always passed, but only after proving that the car had everything they couldn’t find.

      Imagine that you went to live in rural France, and bought an old exotic Chevy to drive. You would have the same problems with your Chevy that FIAT had here in the USA. (Except that nobody living in France would buy an old Chevy. :-)

      Here’s another example: FIAT specified non-EP oil for the 128 transaxle. However, non-EP gear oil is virtually unobtainable here in the USA, so most mechanics would use oil with the EP (Extreme Pressure) additive. Bad idea. 30-50K miles later, the FIAT synchros and bearings would fail. I rebuilt my transaxle, located a suitable oil, and was rewarded with a durable, nice-shifting gearbox. FIAT’s ex-dealer network eventually did figure out a workaround (use 20W50 engine oil in the transaxle), but too late for most FIAT owners.

      I can think of several other similar anecdotes, but my point is that FIAT is no worse than any other make. You just have to understand them.

      stuart

    • 0 avatar

      @Stuart

      Finally a man w/ some common sense. When Fiat came to Brazil in the late 70s they quickly earned a bad reputation. Clearly part of the problem was of their own making as their first car here, was way too far advanced (not to mention small) for the market at the time. Part of the BS reputation was also spread by our “dear” mechanics.

      Fiat soon learned from their mistakes and was smart to identify the mechanics badmouth problem, too. THey became the most open car maker in Brazil, training mechanics for free, making catalogues available, sometimes even subsidizing tools for indie shops.

      Result is that now, due to these policies, and them being market leaders or contenders the last 15 years, everywhere you go there’s a Fiat. And mechanics know how to work them now. So much so that Fiat is the now mechanics’ favorite brand to work on, according to a recent survey. Beating out old VW. Who dominated the market for more than 50 years. Whose Beetle at one point made up 70% of new car sales in Brazil.

      Guess who the mechanics love to piss on now? The French, followed closely by the Japs…History repeats itself.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Apparently not enough people in the U.S. were willing to “understand” Fiat. They’ve been gone from the landscape for 20 or 25 years.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    I have to agree with the Editor of Lemon-Aid books on the Chrysler-Fiat hook up, Fiat models, all of them are known for temperamental fuel and electric systems as well as disintegrating bodies, Alfa Romeos have similar problems with Chrysler taken over by Fiat,two companies that make junk will become one giant company..making junkers.
    One customer was complaining that his 8 year old Caravan had massive electrical and leaking water problems, he wondered why Chrysler would not do anything for him, ahh the money you save on a Caravan you better put it away for situations like this and so it goes.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you had any experience with a Fiat product that was less than 30 years old? Have you even seen in person a car of theirs in the las 10 years? You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

      Don’t want to be rude but some sound like a broken record. This ain’t the 70s anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      cardeveloper

      @Marcelo

      2010 data is demonstrating Fiat is still having quality problems
      http://www.motorauthority.com/blog/1033084_fiat-ranks-last-in-uk-jd-power-survey-bodes-poorly-for-chrysler

      The latest JD Power figures put Fiat at the bottom – 28th of 28 – in UK satisfaction rankings

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Chrysler needs a top 20 selling CAR nameplate in the worst way. A compact, midsize and/or crossover at least in the same ballpark as Civic, Fusion or RAV4.

  • avatar
    davey49

    A new full size van would help with volume. It might also be the easiest to develop quickly. Losing the RamVan/B-series was another casualty of Daimler

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    No I have not seen them here in Canada but I have seen them and know people in the UK that have Fiat’a and they consider them as Rust Buckets! Each to his own I would think.

  • avatar
    daga

    The Journey numbers are quite surprising. That is one of their most competitive mainstream vehicles outside of minivans and Rams.

  • avatar

    Chrysler need to average 95K monthly sales so they’re averaging 98.5K for the last 2 months.
    Guess it come down to half empty or half full…

  • avatar
    fizler


    Regarding the Chrysler fiasco is a story  of complete management refusal to adapt . I especially love it when the news media reports sales increases for CHrysler when they were closed down for three months  . Kinda misleading to talk of sales that are based on not making any ! Of the big three “American” Chrysler deserves to go under. They put all the chips into large big engines and lousy quality was considered par for the course. They produce 3 or four engines per category and think it’s the good old days of Plymouth and Chrysler and Dodge pushing the same model out with different names. They refuse to take note of the actual effort and quality control of the foreign manufacturers. Hyundai and Kia , Toyota and Lexus, Honda and Acura , Nissan and Infinity. Only Chrysler had the nerve to make what they call Chrysler a premium brand in name only. The Sebring constantly is shown as one of the worse vehicles in every report out on what not to buy. The PT had the beginnings of Mini Cooper status until they decided to bastardize the car with cheaper models that were less  and less the original PT . In the end most dealers hardly had any new ones on the lot and that was their one shot to have an economical vehicle and it still didn’t hit 30 mpg . The real story should be why we should reward this company with any bailout at all. The factory doesn’t  care about quality, the company didn’t care about the dealers or the salespeople whom for years depended on them to produce for them a vehicle to compete. Why did Ford come out of this with all their innovative cars as well as GM but to a lessor degree. Fiat is waiting to make its move anyway to get the distribution outlets  and It cant be happy about the Chrysler inherent disregard for the market . How many cars have they come out with that took off great and then they shot themselves in the foot with the model ? 300C is a great vehicle but the base model should be outlawed on the road with its underpowered 2.7 engine which has known problems. The Dodge line actually had a hot truck the Dakota until they just decided to stop supporting it and went into the larger Ram full time leaving the Dakoat loyal customers to Tacoma and to a lessor truck like the S10 and Fords model .
    Sometimes it pays to have a company in the state that the President came from .. but this one needs to stand on its own 4 wheels or go . Its an evil company just ask Daimler and the rest of the investors that tried to set it right.
    Glen LoNigro


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