By on January 5, 2010

Has it really been a year?

What a year it’s been for Chrysler [sales release here]. With a bankruptcy and bailout on top of a aged and unloved product lineup, it’s almost a miracle the Pentastar boyz sold anything in 2009. Overall sales were down 36 percent over 2008, which saw sales 30 percent lower than 2007. But never fear Mopar fans, Chrysler swears that this downward momentum is a thing of the past, and that 2010 will see Chrysler’s first annual sales growth in years. But the question that comes to mind looking over these latest results is how? After all, only two Chrysler Group models actually sold better in 2009 than 2008. Can you guess which?

Dodge’s Journey was the closest thing to a success at ChryCo this year, improving sales 14 percent over 2008 with 47,097 units sold. Then again, the Journey didn’t go on sale until March of 2008, so the comparison is hardly indicative of true sales momentum. December Journey sales (6,872 units) did show a 61 percent improvement… over last December’s miserable showing. Similarly, the Challenger was up 48 percent over the previous year (2,536 units), but 2008 also didn’t see Challenger sales start until nearly halfway through the year.

Other than these two heavily-qualified “gainers,” the rest of the annual sales comparisons are the familiar Chrysler disaster. Because last December was one of the worst sales months on record, the year-over-year monthly comparisons seem favorable, but the volume tells the real story.

Take the Sebring (please). It saw a 24 percent improvement over December 2008, despite moving a mere 4,437 units. Annual sales were 27,460 units, some 62 percent off of 2008’s number. 300 was up 20 percent for the month (4,452), but down 38 percent on the year (38,606). PT Cruiser fell 60 percent to 736 units in December, capping a 65 percent annual decline to 12,941 units. Town and Country held steady with a 4 percent monthly increase (8,465) but fell 29 percent on the year (84,558). The Chrysler brand’s (especially) dead nameplates walking, Crossfire, Pacifica and Aspen shuddered to a halt this month, except for Aspen which sold 32 units. Over 2009, Aspen sold 5,996 units, Crossfire sold 499 units and Pacifica sold 1,955.

Dodge is a similar story, with the exception of the Journey and Challenger. Caliber improved on last December’s achingly bad performance by 83 percent, at 5,289 units, but fell 57 percent on the year to 36,098. Avenger saw a similar monthly increase to 3,799 but fell 37 percent over 2009, to 38,922. Charger improved 16 percent in December to 6,273 units, but fell 38 percent over the year to finish with 60,651. Caravan edged up 24 percent to 8,563 in December, falling 27 percent on the year to 90,666. Nitro is close to pulling a Durango (which dropped to 29 units last month, 3,521 on the year) with only 1,208 units sold in December, and a 52 percent annual decline to 17,443 units.

Even the Jeep brand, long thought to be the only part of Chrysler worth saving, is in the muck. Compass dropped below a thousand units in December, with annual volume down 54 percent to 11,739 units. Patriot managed a minor improvement in December, but the year end numbers are still a grim: -44 percent to 31,432. Liberty held nearly even last month with 4,609 sales, but fell 35 percent in 2009 to 43,503 units. Grand Cherokee, which is set to be replaced this year, sold 4,097 units in December, with annual sales down 32 percent to 50,328. Commander is headed for a bottom-out, with December falling to 1,634 and annual sales down 54 percent to 12,655.

There’s no happy ending for the new Ram brand either. Dakota has fallen 59 percent on the year to 10,690 units and only managed a meager 618 units in December. Sprinter is in chaos as it transitions to Mercedes dealers, but annual sales were half of their 2008 level at 7,154. Worst of all, Ram fell 28 percent in December and on the year, despite the release of a new model. 12,014 were sold in December, with annual volume of 177,268 down from 2008’s 245,840 unit performance.

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19 Comments on “Chrysler Sales Skid Four Percent In December, Down 36 Percent In 2009...”

  • avatar

    An expensive full-page with a prominent punctuation error in the first three words seems symbolic of Chrysler’s problems — great design, consistently flawed execution. The rules of direct address require a comma after the thanks: “Thank you, America.” Perhaps most readers won’t notice or care, but editorial standards probably reflect the institution’s standards.

  • avatar

    Nowhere go to but up, I suppose…

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    Many Auto Blogers say that  Chrysler even with FIAT help will not last this year! as some one said its like “Chrysler and Fiat Two drunks staggering down the street” enough said I think!

  • avatar

    “Thank you for unwillingly throwing good money after bad by investing in this poorly run company.”  Insulting. America’s Car Company? Since when? I have never owned foreign in my near thirty years of driving but now I will never own American again.  I don’t think Chrysler will be around too long unless the ole gov keeps the adrenalin shots coming. And I am an old school Chryco fan who has had nothing but good luck with my Chryco products.. But enough already..

  • avatar

    Halftruth I envy you.  I have had nothing but trouble wth Chrysler products.  From the ’97 Breeze I have wtih a new alternator, belt, & battery that only puts out 11V (next on the hit list..check the battery temperature sensor) to the ’90 Dodge Shadow that I bought new, that required a NEW engine just shy of 20,000 miles & then got stuck in reverse (a total of 5 times…once at the dealer just after it had been ‘fixed’)  & was eventually waylaid by a thrown main bearing on Autobahn 6 between Landstuhl & Frankfurt.  (130MPH was probably not a design goal for this car!)

    Somebody should just put this company down & out of our misery.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s true, from the 79 Volare, 87 Diplomat, 96 Intrepid, 97 LHS and now 04 Dakota,
      all bulletproof..  and get this, ZERO tranny problems on the LH cars..

    • 0 avatar

      I agree in part with both of you.  I have had stellar results in miles/dollar from my Chrysler company cars (quite a number of them).  And I will never buy one from the “New Chrysler” for all the many reasons that have been well documented here.

  • avatar

    I am Ram.  My tank is on empty.

  • avatar

    "Sell" (i.e. give) the minivans to GM, Jeep to Ford, and have done with this dog.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Beep.     Beep.   Beep.   Beep.





    Someone pull the plug on this mess.   Please.

  • avatar

    And this was a relatively good month.

    I heard Novenber was something like 40% fleet at Fiatsco USA.  Yikes.


  • avatar

    Minivans to GM (or maybe Nissan or Volkswagen)
    Jeep to Ford
    Ram to Nissan.  

  • avatar

    To begin with; Cerberus is the one who put out the ad, and Daimler still owned 20% of Chrysler.
    That company stated above – No Longer Exists. Nardelli is gone, LaSorda is gone, Daimler is gone and Cerberus is gone.
    The sales total should not even be compared to last years. This is a brand new company with new owners and managers.
    The previous loser owners are the ones to blame for not having new product sooner. I truly wish they would have renamed to company and rid it of the Chrysler name but keep the other brands.

  • avatar

    I’ll bet that somebody at the new, new, new  Chrysler has plenty to say about the geniuses at Daimler who threw away the old Ram Van (inexpensive, competitive and as durable as anything the company made) in favor of the Sprinter.  Now they don’t even have the Sprinter (not that this is, in itself, a bad thing).

  • avatar

    Are they a niche player yet? It’s gotta be soon. Hell, Honda practically sells more units of one model than all of Chryco!

  • avatar
    George B

    So what is the minimum sales number for a mass-market vehicle to pay back the development cost, assuming normal profit margins?  I would guess that a company needs to sell on the order of 100k units of a particular model to have a chance of succeeding.  Only the Ram pickup and the minivans pass this volume test.  Dead company walking.
    Final years for other auto manufacturers

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