Jeep Is FCA's Jet Fuel - May Jeep Sales Soar Above 90,000 For First Time Ever
More than 90,000 Jeeps were sold in the United States in May 2016, a record for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ best-selling auto brand during an abbreviated sales month in which industry-wide sales fell 6 percent.
There were only 24 selling days on the auto sales calendar in May, a “month” which didn’t officially begin until May 3. Compared with May 2015, when there were 26 selling days, real Jeep volume jumped 14 percent, the greatest year-over-year increase of any volume auto brand, accounting for nearly 11,000 additional sales.
Rapidly rising Jeep Renegade sales are partly to thank. Yet even with the Renegade excluded, sales of Jeep’s five more established models rose 6 percent, or 15 percent on a daily selling rate basis. Five Jeeps ranked among America’s 20 best-selling SUVs and crossovers in May 2016. As for the Compass? It ranked 21st.
For FCA, it was certainly vital that Jeep over-perform in May, as sales at Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Ram fell 7 percent last month. Thanks to Jeep, FCA posted a 1-percent year-over-year increase last month.
Jeep has consistently performed as FCA’s jet fuel thrusting the company’s combined brands to own 13.4 percent of the U.S. auto market so far this year.
“The Jeep brand has set a sales record in every month dating back to November 2013,” FCA reported in its monthly sales release yesterday. May’s results nevertheless manifested a high-water mark for the Jeep brand within the FCA family, as Jeep produced 44 percent of FCA’s total sales in the United States in May 2016, up five percentage points from May 2015, up eight percentage points from May 2014, and up 18 percentage points since May 2013.
Meanwhile, FCA’s passenger car volume plunged by more than one-third in May 2016 and by 31 percent in the first five months of this year. Those are worrisome figures for any FCA executive troubled by the possibility, however unlikely, that fuel prices may suddenly skyrocket or steadily surge.
Admittedly, the post-Katrina decline in “light truck” sales – light truck volume fell 21 percent in September and October 2005 after rising 5 percent through the first two-thirds of 2005 – would possibly be less severe if fuel prices were to climb now as they did then. The utility vehicles and pickup trucks American consumers are snatching up in 2016 are more efficient; their presence less anti-social.
We know not what the future holds for U.S. fuel prices. We do know that FCA is placing greater emphasis on light trucks and less emphasis on passenger cars. With Jeep conquering greater swathes of the market while Chrysler 200 sales plummet by 11,000 units per month, it’s no wonder.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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