This Just In: People Continue To Buy Jeeps, And Minivans Too!

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
this just in people continue to buy jeeps and minivans too

44 percent of the new vehicles sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the United States in July 2016 were Jeeps. As Fiat Chrysler, under a new sales reporting methodology, flatlined in July, Jeep volume jumped 5 percent, year-over-year.

Total new vehicle volume rose by a scant 0.6 percent in the United States in July, a gain of fewer than 11,000 units for an auto industry which grew by an average of 19,400 units in the first six months. Overall sales at FCA grew at half that rate, a gain of a few hundred units in July after FCA volume jumped by more than 9,000 sales per month in the first-half of 2016.

A 27-percent drop in passenger car volume at FCA created greater need for Jeep to pull more than its fair share of the automaker’s U.S. sales load in July, particularly with pickup truck sales growth at Ram quickly slowing.

Yet Jeep isn’t the only division at FCA that continues to counteract the automaker’s disappearing car volume. And we do mean disappearing in a literal sense.


A decade ago, the former Chrysler Group produced an average of 56,000 monthly sales with ten passenger car nameplates.

In July 2016, FCA produced fewer than 24,000 passenger car sales with six Chryslers and Dodges, one Alfa Romeo, and three Fiats.

Two of those Dodges, the Viper and Dart, will shortly be removed from the lineup. One of the Chryslers — the 200, which at this time last year was the automaker’s top-selling car in America and accounted for six in ten Chrysler brand sales — is about to depart, as well. And three of the four Italians, combined, produced only 750 July sales.

Essentially, FCA is soon to become an automaker which relies on the Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Chrysler 300, and Fiat 500 to forge ahead in the slowly degrading passenger car market.

Those four cars produced 14,034 U.S. sales in July.

Context: Nissan reported 18,536 Sentra sales in July.


Jeep is certainly the key element, and the element we discuss most often, in neutralizing the collapse of FCA car volume, but it’s not the only element.

Though explained in part by a minivan plant shutdown in Windsor, Ontario in early 2015, which dragged down sales figures and exaggerated the achievements of FCA’s minivans this year, the clear-out of remaining Chrysler Town & Countrys and the value-oriented pricing of the Dodge Grand Caravan and the launch of the new Chrysler Pacifica has resulted in a minivan boom at FCA’s dealers.

45 percent of the minivans sold in the U.S. in the first seven months of 2016 were Grand Caravans, Town & Countrys, and Pacificas, up from 32 percent one year ago.

In July, FCA’s minivan volume jumped 48 percent to 21,307 units, including 7,911 copies of the new Pacifica, FCA reports.


The minivan sales gain in July isn’t the only van improvement FCA is seeing. Total FCA van volume, including the Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City, grew by nearly 8,300 sales in July 2016, year-over-year.

That van sales improvement is vital to FCA during a month in which passenger car volume tumbled by nearly 9,300 units.

Ram remains a small player in the commercial van category, but FCA’s market share is growing rapidly. In the first seven months of 2015, only 8.7 percent of America’s commercial van buyers opted for a Ram. This year, that figure has grown to 11.6 percent.


Minivan growth at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was more substantial than the growth achieved by Jeep during the month of July, but the Jeep brand has been FCA’s savior, its moneymaker, its flag-waving backdrop of success throughout 2016.

Even after FCA’s new sales tabulating methods revealed that sales in the first-half of 2016 were initially overstated for the Patriot, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Renegade, and Wrangler, corrected reports make clear that Americans have acquired 67,613 more Jeeps in the first seven months of 2016 than during the same period one year ago.

Sure, a 14-percent improvement to record levels in a market which has expanded by just 1 percent is noteworthy, but don’t understate the brand’s momentum by assuming that Jeep is merely riding a wave of SUV ardor. Jeep is a force that makes that wave crest higher.

Want proof? No auto brand sells more SUVs and crossovers in America than Jeep. Jeep volume is up 14 percent in a utility vehicle sector that’s up 8 percent this year. And one-quarter of the sector’s substantial growth is attributable to Jeep’s raging success.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, 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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2 of 50 comments
  • Zip89123 Zip89123 on Aug 10, 2016

    A minivan will probably be a replacement for my truck, as trucks are priced too high and I just need cargo capacity, not towing ability. DGC's sell fast where I'm at.

  • Kit4 Kit4 on Aug 11, 2016

    driven tons of Chrysler minivans up to today's models including the Pacifica. Junk then, junk today.