Chrysler Group's August Sales Look Better Without Fiat

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
chrysler group s august sales look better without fiat

We can look at this two different ways. “Chrysler Group LLC today reported U.S. sales of 198,379 units, a 20 percent increase compared with sales in August 2013 (165,552 units), and the group’s best August sales since 2002,” their press release said at the beginning of this month.

Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram combined for an industry-leading 19.8% year-over-year improvement. With 198,379 sales, Chrysler Group LLC eclipsed their previous 2014 best (May) and reached a twelve-year August high and marked the 53rd consecutive month of year-over-year growth and climbed to the highest sales level since May 2007, when 199,393 vehicles were sold by Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands.

During no month in a 62-month span beginning in January 2008 did the Chrysler Group ever sell more than 190,000 vehicles in a single month.

Yet in August, the Chrysler Group’s rate of improvement would have looked better if Fiat was excluded from the picture, not unlike your older brother’s interloping girlfriend at the tense immediate-family-only photo session on the beach last summer.

With Fiat? Chrysler Group LLC sales rose 19.8%, a 32,827-unit jump. Without Fiat? Chrysler Group LLC sales rose 20.9%, a 33,655-unit increase.

This is a small difference, and it was a difference created in part by a knee airbag recall situation that led Fiat 500L sales to slow to a crawl: only 33 were sold in August, down from a monthly average of 1340 units over the previous five months. Sales of the core 500 model actually increased in August, rising 12% to 3329 units, the first YOY increase for the 500 since May of last year.

If all we intended to discuss was a unique situation which led to an atypical decrease at Fiat, there really wouldn’t be a discussion. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that Fiat’s actual car lineup isn’t about to become a major player in the U.S. market or, more precisely, in the Chrysler family, not in America. August wasn’t an irregular month on that front; it’s a trend that’s been steadily taking hold.

In the second half of 2011, the Fiat brand accounted for 2.7% of Chrysler Group LLC volume in the United States. That figure held in 2012 but fell to 2.4% in 2013 even with a new model contributing more than 7000 extra sales. By July, the number had fallen to 2.3% (and 1.7% in August) despite expansion in the brand’s lineup.

Whether you believe Fiat was the saviour in the FCA conglomerate or you figure the Italian (formerly?) automaker was handed the keys to a safe that would eventually fill up with cash, the vehicles powering the Chrysler Group right now aren’t cute, little cars which cater to a cross-section of the market that demands fuel efficiency in this unstable world. 21% of the company’s August sales were derived from the Fiat brand, Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee, Ram ProMaster, and the Chrysler 200.

Lacking necessary outside investment and a partner willing to take a plunge in what was a time of great upheaval, Chrysler could have quickly faded away had this sea-change of a relationship not formed five years ago.

Yet 61% of Chrysler Group’s August volume was generated by the Ram truck lineup, two minivans, the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, and Dodge’s Journey and Durango, up only slightly from a 58% share in calendar year 2009. The more things change…

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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  • Turboprius Turboprius on Sep 27, 2014

    I find it hilarious that people (myself included) thought the new 200 wasn't going to be a fleet special like the old one. Guess what? Almost all of the 2015 200s I've seen have that Enterprise sticker on the driver's window. Same with the 2015 Tahoe.

  • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on Sep 28, 2014

    My first new car purchase was a 1974 Fiat X1/9. I owned the car for 6 years, put nearly 100K miles on it and only needed spec'd maintenance to run virtually trouble-free. I am happy to have the opportunity to buy new Fiats in the U.S. and will be looking to purchase a 4C Alfa in 2 to 3 years.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.