Jeep's Extraordinary March 2015 Sales Performance Sets Records
Everything was coming up roses for Jeep in March 2015.
During a period in which it seemed highly likely that FCA/Chrysler Group would fail to report their 60th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases – five years of growth without a pause – a slight 2% increase across the company’s large number of brands helped to propel the U.S. auto industry to a narrow 0.5% year-over-year gain.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US produced the company’s marginal gains despite a 24% drop in sales at Dodge, a 5% decline at Fiat, a 58% plunge in minivan volume, and the first Ram pickup truck decrease since April 2010.
The responsibility for growth was thus placed on commercial vans, a specific passenger car trio, and the high-flying Jeep brand.
FCA currently competes with three different vans targeted at the commercial market: the soon-to-disappear Grand Caravan-based Ram Cargo Van, the full-size Ram ProMaster, and the small Ram ProMaster City. Their combined sales increased by 1481 units, or 76%, to 3428 in March 2015.
The Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart reported best-ever monthly sales for the respective nameplates, and together with the Dodge Challenger doubled the trio’s sales to 34,872 units in March. This counteracted passenger car sales declines from the Chrysler 300, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Viper, and the Fiat lineup. (Combined 200/Avenger sales were up 19% in March but fell 5% in the first-quarter of 2015.)
Jeeps, however, were the real difference makers last month. The Cherokee and Patriot posted best-ever sales months, combining for 30,882 sales, a 39% jump compared with March 2014.
Last month also resulted in best-ever March results for the Wrangler and Compass. Year-over-year, that duo’s sales rose 16% to 22,944.
The Grand Cherokee’s March volume was up 5% to 16,815 – the Grand Cherokee is on pace to make 2015 the best year since 2005.
Jeep also began selling the Renegade, which is expected to be a hot ticket in the near future. Only 943 were sold in its abbreviated first month, but inventory levels are rising rapidly. Expect to see a long period of Renegade growth before any levelling off.
Put it all together – the best-ever months for two nameplates, best-ever seasonal sales for two more, growth from the Grand Cherokee, an all-new model – and it’s not difficult to conclude that U.S. Jeep sales were at the highest level ever in March 2015. Not just the highest March level, but the highest level regardless of month.
March 2015 Jeep sales broke the previous brand’s record, set in May 2014, by 1381 units, or 2%. That record was set in a month, which in terms of overall auto industry volume, was 4% larger. Thus, Jeep’s market share last month, 4.6%, was a meaningful improvement compared with the 4.4% from the previous record-setting month.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.
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