Chrysler Sales Drop 15 Percent

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chrysler sales drop 15 percent

Even in the midst of an overstimulated car market there’s always an excuse for underperforming. Chrysler is blaming overzealous production cutbacks and dealer shortages for its 15 percent month-on-month sales decline in August. Grand Cherokee had a surprising 62 percent increase in sales compared to last August, while 300 sales improved 17 percent. Otherwise, sales were down across the board. The TTAC-slated Aspen dropped 83 percent. The long-in-the-tooth Durango dropped 86 percent. And Challenger sales continued their freefall, falling by 45 percent.

Avenger sales improved by 16 percent to 4,118 units. Its Sebring sibling fell 39 percent to 2,514. Compass was down 11 percent, Patriot was down 34 percent, and Caliber held steady at zero percent (as did PT Cruiser). The Journey CUV’s sales rose three percent. Dodge Caravan sales ascended by 13 percent—a surprising showing considering the Chrysler T&C dropped 26 percent to 7,530. Charger was down 20 percent. Jeep’s resilience was tested as well. The usually-reliable Wrangler sales fell for the second month in a row.

The major lesson of August: Chrysler is an extremely damaged brand. Out of the house brand’s lineup, only the outdated 300 and PT didn’t die a death.

Chrysler now faces a challenging decision: increase production to fill in the gaps caused by Cash For Clunkers and risk returning to the bad old days of channel-stuffing and sales banks, or run the chance of not having the few models consumers will consider. Which cup of hemlock is it to be? After all, August sales were as redlined as they could be….

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  • Ajla Ajla on Sep 02, 2009

    @Freedmike: -The Mustang is still selling at around 6000+ per month. That doesn't beat the Camaro, but it's still quite respectable especially compared to the recent dismal sales of the Challenger. The Mustang has also received some decent accolades from the buff books and online publications while the Challenger is quickly becoming the perennial also-ran against all competitors. -F-series sales were actually up. Silverado/Sierra and Tundra sales took a nosedive even worse than the Ram. Even though I don't work for ChryslerCo, I've still got to believe that with the recent redesign they were hoping to keep sales losses under 25%.

  • Cpmanx Cpmanx on Sep 02, 2009

    It's really tough to make a meaningful read on sales from this weird, weird month. Both Chrysler and GM were affected by inventory problems from their shutdowns during bankruptcy proceedings. GM's numbers were also hurt (and Ford's helped) by comparison with a year-ago month when GM was doing a blowout sales extravaganza. All three "domestic" companies are scrambling to cut back on fleet sales. That said, Chrysler is going to be in a terrible position for the next 18-24 months until the first of the Fiat-derived cars show up. The only major new products in the pipeline are the new Grand Cherokee and the facelifted 300/Charger, both of which are hitting the wrong segments for major growth (although they are getting pretty good advance notices). Weak Ram sales are a particularly worrisome sign, given that Ford actually saw a 12% increase with the F-150. Right now the Fiat folks seem to be focused on improving interiors, shoring up quality, and cutting costs--all reasonable but stopgap measures intended to keep the company viable until we find out if there really is a market for Americanized Fiats.

  • Timd38 Timd38 on Sep 02, 2009

    The public has figured out the Chrysler products stand for poor quality and even poorer reliability. Fix it again tony (FIAT) as true meaning now that they run Chrysler.

  • Roundel Roundel on Sep 02, 2009

    If Chrysler had more Calibers, PTs, Avengers and Sebrings on the ground, they would have sold more. All because of their double cash offer. There is not one of these vehicles to be found new on a lot within 100 miles of me. If they didn't shut down those plants, the numbers would have been quite different I think.