By on February 1, 2012

The year starts on a high note, at least when you are Chrysler. Chrysler reports a jaw-dropping 44-percent gain in domestic auto sales. Also up: Volkswagen, up 48 percent to 27,209 vehicles. Nissan sales in the U.S. are up 10.4 percent to 79,313.

Ford is up 7 percent to 136,710 units, driven by record sales of the Focus. Analysts had expected between 8 and 9 percent.

GM’s sales are down 6 percent to 167,962 units. Cruze and Sonic helped lift Chevrolet’s sales by 13 percent.

By the end of the day, analysts expect the report to print a 6 percent total market gain for January.

Stay tuned for more reporting as the numbers roll in.


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46 Comments on “January Sales: Chrysler Way Up, GM Down, Ford Could Be Higher...”

  • avatar

    Just curious how that 44 percent for Chrysler is split up.. fleet sales? I can’t imagine people buying up the 200 and Caliber in droves here.

    • 0 avatar

      I dunno, but I’m seeing a heck of a lot of new Chargers, 300’s, GC’s, T&C’s, and even 200’s. More so than I have ever seen before.

      I just think it goes to show you that if you build a decent car at a reasonable price, people will flock to them. It just seems like people are trusting Chrysler again.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a little bit more to Chrysler than the 200 and Caliber… The 200 was the Sebring this time last year I believe and don’t forget Jeep falls under Chrysler. Also, the Charger and 300 V6 models now have 31 mpg highway available.

    • 0 avatar

      Data you are looking for:

      • 0 avatar

        789% in 200 sales? Are the people buying those completely blind?

        God that is one ugly car. The Chrysler minivans have been pretty ugly, too, since they dropped the curves (I could be biased; I grew up with, and still have, a 2000 Voyager).

      • 0 avatar

        I always was a fan of Libbie and found it greatly underrated by the buying public (esp. since I know one guy who talked me into Wrangler, and a year later his fiance bought a Liberty, which is quite nice and practical — although has no diff locker). Still, the 68% jump really smells. I don’t think my comments at TTAC would turn that many people, do you? Liberty _still_ hasn’t got the Pentastar, it comes with the old 210 hp 3.7L good for about 20 mpg in daily driving. Something is not right here.

      • 0 avatar

        The Liberty will get a new engine when it comes out as a totally redesigned model. The plant that makes the 3.7L will close on Sept 1st, then it will be retooled to make Maserati SUV’s.

    • 0 avatar

      How many GM sales were the 296000 Volts that are all being recalled?

      (603 REAL sales in Jan and no report how many are being returned within the next 6 days of Feb)

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    That’s a heap o’ unsold CRV’s, ain’t it?

  • avatar

    How the hell they let a Cadillac division stay with ONE car lineup CTS ??? Just one factor that GM`s sales are down.

  • avatar

    I finally got to sit in some Chryslers and Dodges at the Philly Auto Show and dang, they really have improved!

    I’m also seeing tons of 200s and Grand Caravans on the roads. The vans in particular are deceptively quick, thanks to the Pentastar V6!

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah…the 200 I rented a few months back was actually a very nice ride. The interior was leaps and bounds improved, and the ride (on those world-famous Detroit roads) was pleasant underway. Given that they are being sold at a price-point less than the competition, I can see why sales have improved (what a concept…build a car people might actually want at a price they can afford). They still have work to do, but at least they appear to be on the right path.

  • avatar

    Up 22% in Canada, which is a less dramatic rise than in the US but enough to make them the number one ins sales for January:

    In related news, freezing temperatures are reported in h3ll, and travel is not advised!

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Ford has the highest percentage of fleet sales in 2011 according to Forbes magazine:

    But I wonder if it is due to the previous generation Focus and the outgoing Fusion being dumped to fleets.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a combination of things:

      The final run of the previous gen Focus being snapped up by rental fleets.

      Livery and Police forces buying up the last Town Cars and Crown Vics they can get their hands on

      Construction, utility, and business focused vehicles and a ‘dealers within dealers’ fleet network that knows how to sell E-Series and F-Series vehicles to those who need them for work.

      Ford, GM, and Dodge are always going to have higher fleet sales than the imports because of the work-trim trucks and vans alone. Toyota and Nissan both make full size pickups and can sell a bare bones model, but they don’t have the fleet sales network in place to push those vehicles to government, utility, and construction firms. They also don’t have a heavy duty lineup or the aftermarket support for upfits like utility beds, lift/dump/emergency bodies, or the installed base that’s already invested heavily into one particular manufacturer for business vehicles.

  • avatar

    Seeing lots of Chrysler products around here. Not many 200’s but tons of Challengers and Chargers… including and especially every cop car in Texas. Still you have to look at the numbers and not just the percentages (something I haven’t done yet since I’m on my NOOK and it doesn’t do all the silly internet tricks well), but it’s quite possible for Chrysler’s 44% increase to be smaller in raw numbers than GM’s 6% decline.

    This may not be the case but the point is valid.

  • avatar
    Mr. Spacely

    Chrysler’s success is not hard to grasp. Their interiors are great, the Pentastar is powerful, in everything, and is affordable, they have good ad campaigns, and they have a handful of universally well-reviewed cars in the 300, Charger, GC, and Durango. Also, the upcoming Dart has great buzz.

    Obviously, this is totally anecdotal, but I live in SoCal and the Chrysler products I’m seeing the most of here are new 300s, Challengers, and GCs. Lots of GCs, in fact.

    • 0 avatar

      The success on strong product isn’t hard to grasp, the year on year gains over the same strong product last year is less clear. Why did the cars below sell so poorly last January?

      300 & Charger – 10,500 Jan-12, 3,400 Jan-11.

      Ram – 17,900 Jan-12, 12,200 Jan-11.

      Grand Cherokee – 10,700 Jan-12, 7,600 Jan-11.

      • 0 avatar

        While inventory problems at launch and overall market conditions no doubt play a part I think the damaged Chrysler brand has a lot to do with the relatively slow start for some of the new models as well.

        Now that the improved models have been on the road for a while, the buzz around Chrysler seems to be improving and people who would not have previously considered them may be willing to give them a chance.

        For example, I haven’t heard anything negative about the Pentastar yet, and now that it has been around for ~18 months and ~1MM units it looks like might be safe to buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t blame anyone who was hesitant to buy one at launch – especially considering Chrysler’s recent track record with new product launches…

      • 0 avatar

        Penguinboy is correct. Chrysler has been hammered in the press and has had some serious quality glitches. They also had horrific interiors. So, a slow start is to be expected. If the reliability matches the improved look and feel, things will be looking much better for Chrysler.

  • avatar

    I really like the 200. If Iwere in the market, I’d have to give it a look. Go Chrysler!

  • avatar

    The Ram, the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee are iconic class leading profitable vehicles people want to buy. The new Charger and the 300 are on their way to successful icon status as well. Challengers even seem to selling better than ever. Bob Lutz said “Build cars people want to buy that you can make a profit on.”

    The reason the sales of 300’s and 200’s went up so much is because they had inventory problems as they were switching from 2010 to revamped 2011 models. Also inventorywise Chrysler has had trouble building enough Pentastar V6’s. Another reason is the introduction of the 8 speed automatic.

    Chrysler has 2 volume boosting models well on the way in the Dart and the Pentastar Ram, since compact cars and 6 cylinder trucks are huge markets that Chrysler now barely participates in, expect more big MOPAR increases in the future.

    Does changing the name of FIAT auto parts around the world to MOPAR now mean FIAT intends to become an American company?

  • avatar

    Where are Germans, especially BMW & MB numbers?

    Oh wait ! It is not February 3rd yet…

  • avatar

    VW up 48%???? Which car is propelling this? Don’t tell me it’s the new Passat. That is the most UNGerman German car I’ve ever seen.

    • 0 avatar

      The new Passat makes up about 2/3 of the increase, but just about every car in the lineup is up (the Jetta is basically flat though): Beetle and Tiguan added ~1000 units each.

    • 0 avatar

      We were wondering how well the Passat would really do, even though we suspected it would be as successful as the new Jetta. I guess they’ve hit upon a formula that’s sort of opposite of Chrysler’s where they have to de-content the interiors to make them more attractive, heh.

    • 0 avatar

      I always feel a little trollish when I suggest this amongst my more hobbyist friends of these fields but whatever we think as a group is usually the absolute OPPOSITE of what EVERYBODY else feels on it. VW is not an upmarket brand as they had been positioning themselves for the last decade and a half, they see the money is in making it cheap and lots of them. The current Jetta sells piddlings compared to Corollas, Civics, and Focuses. The new Passat while maybe a really poor substitute for the car it replaced it’s also substantially cheaper and can go head-to-head with the Camcord/Fusion trio for the first time. Before it was a minimum of 3-5K above them to start and really Passats were the car for upscale people who could afford a BMW or MB on lease but wanted to own or be subdued. Now the Passat is out there for everybody trying to buy some of that mojo that comes with being a mass appeal car and letting Audi be the luxury fighter.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I hope TTAC will continue to break down monthly sales by individual models. Ed Niedermeyer did a good job with that when he was around. (Miss you Ed!)

  • avatar

    What these statistics really say is that Chrysler was in the toilet last year and are now just climbing out. They just had more room to grow. Let us see what happens after the execs get their bonuses and we see more of Fiats influence.

  • avatar

    Presented without comment:

    Just as we thought GM’s channel stuffing days may be coming to an end, and the company may finally be normalizing its inventory management, here come January numbers, where we learn that in addition to car sales declining by 6% compared to a year ago, at 167,962 vehicles sold (of note: “Retail deliveries declined 15 percent compared with the same month a year ago and accounted for 70 percent of GM sales”), it was the all critical month end dealer inventory that caught our attention. And unfortunately as the skeptics expected, GM is back to its old tricks, as dealer inventories rose once again, this time by over 36k units, or the second highest in its post-reorg history, to a near record 619,455 vehicles stored with dealers. This is just the second highest ever in fresh start GM history, second only to November’s 623,666. The January-end number represents 89 days supply, but more importantly the recent spike in restocking, which was seen with all other major car dealers, explains the ongoing “expansion” in the US economy as measured by indices such as the ISM. Eventually, when the end demand for these dealer parked vehicles does not materialize, the New Orders so diligently tracked by economists everywhere will slip back under 50, but before that we are confident that the administration will come up with some new Cash for Clunkers plan to take demand from the future and to push it into the days leading into the election, probably funded once again by other taxpayers who don’t quite see the fascination with owning a GM car.

    • 0 avatar

      Although the inventory numbers are certainly interesting, the rest seems to consist of vague hand-waving and a desperately hoped-for political ploy that probably nobody in the current administration has even considered.

      When I saw that the source was a well-known Paulite mouthpiece, I wasn’t exactly surprised.

    • 0 avatar

      Could it in part be because January is the slowest month of the year and production is pretty consistent from one month to another, Therefore inventory builds up during slow months and declines during the good months? I recall inventory was looking large at the end of Q3 with >100 days for trucks and TTAC articles. By the end of December (a good sales month and limited production because of Christmas shutdown) the inventory situation had improved to around 60-70 days (i.e. normal).
      Bottom line inventory will go up and down, it is the trend not one month that matters. If they do go back to channel stuffing their profits will take a hit and that will quickly show up and be reflected in the share price.

      Looking at the link :
      Ford month-end inventory 86-day supply at end of Jan. (492k vehicles) vs 60-day supply (466k) as of Dec. 31
      Chrysler had 83-day supply (349k units) end of Jan. vs 64-day (326k units) as of Dec. 31
      GM month-end inventory 89-day supply (619k units) vs 67-day supply (583k) Dec. 31

      So all three companies had a large (c. 20 day) increase in inventory. Also as the market picks up from 11 million SAAR to 13-14 million a larger absolute number is inventory isn`t all bad.

      • 0 avatar

        That could be part of it, but I do believe that 2012 will actually be a pretty good year for ALL auto manufacturers selling in the US. I expect Toyota and Honda to do very well in the coming months once they get their supply lines restocked.

        People have held back buying new cars for the past three years because of all the uncertainty in the economy, the banking system, Congress and the Obama administration. This being an election year, those who can, will be buying that new car. Those unemployed, won’t, unless they are independently wealthy.

        After the Nov election, we’ll see another major change in buyer behavior. If a Republican gets elected and Obama is out, we’ll see the flood gates open along with people’s wallets.

        If Obama gets re-elected, and I think he has this thing sewed up because the Republicans currently do not have a candidate that a majority will rally behind, then we’ll see a lot more people bracing themselves for four more years of the past three years, and more of the same including bail outs, hand outs, another Quantitative Easing, another C4C and mortgage assistance, all at the expense of the tax payers. IOW, another round of trickle-up poverty.

  • avatar


    January retail sales were up 19 percent from last year due to continued strong performance throughout the Hyundai line-up, with the hot-selling Elantra up 13 percent and Genesis/Equus sales up 27 percent over last year. Fleet mix remains low at nine percent as the focus remains on optimizing dealer throughput and meeting consumer demand given ongoing production capacity constraints.

    CARLINE JAN/2012 JAN/2011 CY/2012 CY/2011
    ACCENT 4,341 4,244 4,341 4,244
    SONATA 14,489 13,261 14,489 13,261
    ELANTRA 10,900 9,659 10,900 9,659
    SANTA FE 4,818 4,415 4,818 4,415
    AZERA 18 156 18 156
    TUCSON 3,116 2,863 3,116 2,863
    VERACRUZ 736 579 736 579
    VELOSTER 1,693 N/A 1,693 N/A
    GENESIS 2,291 1,783 2,291 1,783
    EQUUS 292 254 292 254
    TOTAL 42,694 37,214 42,694 37,214

  • avatar

    Kudos to Chrysler ! And Great pic, TTAC.

  • avatar

    Allpar is reporting that Chrysler was best selling carmaker in Canada for the month of January 2012.

    • 0 avatar

      In that case the cars are really “Imported from Detroit”.

    • 0 avatar

      You mean “vehicle maker.” Fiat-Chrysler does not sell all that many cars … two thirds of the volume is trucks, minivans, SUVs, crossovers and the ilk.

      • 0 avatar

        You know I hear that Toyota has a lot of trucks, minivans, SUV’s and CUV’s for sale too. Who’d a thunk it?

      • 0 avatar

        Absolutely. But of the larger manufacturers, Fiat-Chrysler surely has the highest percentage. They simply don’t have enough volume models on the car side.

        And that means they aren’t the biggest “carmaker,” not even in Canada.

      • 0 avatar

        Chrysler’s truck sales in Canada (01/2012): 13,951 – ranked #1
        Chrysler’s car sales in Canada (01/2012): 2,527 – ranked #8

        Top car manufacturers in Canada in January? Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, GM, VW, Mazda, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, Kia, Nissan.

        (Fiat 500 sold 321 units in Canada last month.)

  • avatar

    How much of Chrysler’s success this month can be attributed to the demographic that is attracted to the brand doing (a lot?) better economically now?

    • 0 avatar

      I think it has a lot to do with greatly improved products at a reasonable price, along with improved market conditions in general.

      Like most automakers, I suspect different Mopars appeal to different demographics – the average Calibre buyer is probably in a different demographic than the average Grand Cherokee Overland buyer.

  • avatar

    Congrats to Chrysler for a great month. New Gr Cherokee prob a lot to do with it

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    thanks-this is a refreshing change from some of the other “loosely connected to the automotive world” pieces today.

  • avatar

    I wonder how many Chrysler buyers will switch back to another brand after their new Dodge spends too much time in the service bay.

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