Chrysler September Sales Plummet 42 Percent

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The bailout babies of the US auto industry took a pummeling in the post-Cash For Clunkers sales environment, as Chrysler very nearly matched GM’s precipitous decline. Unlike GM though, Chrysler isn’t predicting a turnaround by year’s end. “We believe the remainder of 2009 will continue to be a challenge for the U.S. automotive market,” says Chrysler brand boss Peter Fong [via PRNewswire]. “Credit markets have thawed slightly, but still remain tight, and consumer confidence, as we saw in September, is tenuous.” And yet nothing seems to be quite as tenuous as Chrysler’s grip on its razor-thin market share.

By brand, only Jeep managed to avoid total collapse, as sales of the off-road brand fell a dainty 20 percent. Dodge slid a significant 43 percent, showing why Fiat is reportedly considering stripping off the Ram truck brand and selling it off if things don’t improve. Meanwhile, the Chrysler brand showed why rumors of its brandicide continue to persist, falling a staggering 61 percent.

Quick, name the only Chrysler-branded nameplate to increase its sales over last September. Give up? The Crossfire, which sold 127 units to last September’s 113. And that, folks, is as good as it gets. 300 dropped 20 percent, while Town and Country fell 61 percent. Sebring shed 73 percent of its sales, while PT Cruiser and Aspen dropped 89 percent each. That Fiat executives believe a few facelifts can turn these numbers around is testament to either their faith in ChryCo’s design teams or the quality of the intoxicants in which they indulge.

Quick, name the only Jeep-branded nameplate to increase its sales over last September. Give up? The Grand Cherokee, which surprisingly added 23 percent to its sales, hitting a monthly volume of 5,601. Otherwise, Wrangler was down 2 percent, Commander fell six percent, Liberty dropped 45 percent, Patriot slid 57 percent and Compass was off by 90 percent.

Quick, name the only Dodge-branded nameplate to increase its sales over last September. Give up? It was a trick question. Sprinter and Charger were best-off with four percent and eight percent declines respectively. Challenger fell by 25 percent, Ram was down 35 percent, Avenger and Dakota were off by 36 percent, Journey fell 38 percent, Nitro dropped 55 percent, Caravan fell 63 percent and Caliber plummeted 89 percent to 654 units.

Where does Chrysler Group go from here? Though it seems that there’s nowhere to go but up, the reverse is likely to be the case. The Chrysler brand is every bit as damaged at this point as Saab or Hummer. No product in the firm’s entire portfolio has been able to maintain steady sales month-to-month. And with future product plans materializing in the form of quickie reskins, there’s absolutely no reason to believe the bleeding will stop anytime soon. Year-to-date, only the Journey, Wrangler, Ram and Challenger have failed to decline by 30 percent or more. That’s the sum total of Chrysler’s “success” in 2009, and it’s nowhere near enough to keep the company going.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Oct 02, 2009
    menno : October 2nd, 2009 at 10:05 am However, I’d be willing to bet we’d have had an easier time of the mountains in the Kia, with the extra power and 4 valves per cylinder. I live in Denver, and I can tell you the Kia's no barn-burner when it comes to acceleration. Agreed on the base engine in the T&C, though - I drove one, and it was a no sale item for me.
  • FloorIt FloorIt on Oct 02, 2009
    joe_thousandaire : October 2nd, 2009 at 1:31 am The Minivan numbers were surprising, I wonder where that business is going. Kia Sedona? Ford Flex? Volkswagen Routan? Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey.
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  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
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