By on August 10, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica44 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.

2016 Chrysler 200CCARS
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.2016 Ram ProMasterVANS
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.

MORE VANS
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.2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited redJEEP
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 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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50 Comments on “This Just In: People Continue To Buy Jeeps, And Minivans Too!...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    The local FCA dealer got my name off a list of current Odyssey owners. They sent me a postcard offering $249/month Pacificas.

    If you have to sell on price in your first month on sale, then you don’t have much confidence in your product.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They may know something buyers don’t, but the real question is will buyers have any confidence in a Fiat sourced and designed minivan product?

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        The Pacifica was designed in the US and is not derived from any existing Fiat product.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          Oh thank God that means it has the highly lauded Chrysler quality.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Platform: Compact US Wide”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Pacifica_(RU)

          “Developed in Turin, Italy, the Compact platform was designed to adapt to future cars of both the Fiat and Chrysler group. Fiat engineers used the C-platform (used by Fiat Stilo, Bravo and Lancia Delta) as a starting point and developed a new high-performance platform that uses only a central part of the floor from the old C-platform. The frame composition is 84% high-strength steel (as opposed to the old C-platform, 65% of which was high-strength steel) and 4% aluminum. The front suspension uses MacPherson aluminum Evo struts and is 4 kilograms (8.8 lb) lighter than the previous steel struts (used in Fiat Bravo). The rear suspension uses an independent multilink suspension and each of them consists of two lateral links with an aluminum longitudinal arm that mounts the hub and spring.[3] Using aluminium rather than steel, which has a higher density, enabled a total combined weight-savings in the suspension bits of 14 kilograms. The framework for the rear seats and the magnesium alloy cross member reduced weight by 35% in comparison to earlier cars.[4]

          The platform offers a compact transverse engine at the front with either front or four-wheel drive. The total platform weight of the standard version (on the compact models) is 174 kilograms (384 lb).

          Long wheelbase version (Compact U.S. Wide)[edit]

          The long wheelbase version is called D-Evo,[5] Compact Wide or Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) and will be available on future models of the Chrysler sedans like the Dodge Dart.[6] The interchangeable modules make the basic platform suitable for vehicles of differing lengths up to 4.92 metres (16.1 ft). It was designed with additional features for a compact platform that could adapt to sports cars like Alfa Romeo.

          The engine range, combined with the platform, consists of the compact four-cylinder petrol 1.4 Fire, 1.4 Multiair, 1,750 TBi turbocharged, the 2.0 or 2.4 Chrysler GEMA engine, the 3.2 or the 3.6 Chrysler Pentastar V6 engine, and the 1.6, 2.0 and 2.2 Multijet turbodiesel engines. Fiat and Chrysler plan to build about 1 million vehicles a year by 2014 based on this platform. Eight upcoming Chrysler Group vehicles are planned to be built on Fiat’s Compact Wide platform, including the replacement for the Jeep Liberty.[7]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_Compact_platform#Long_wheelbase_version

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        28-Cars-Later
        Do buyers have confidence in Chrysler sourced and designed minivans? They buy them because they’re cheap, not because they’re any good.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Dodge minivans have always sold on price. We bought one in the spring of 2002 and it was considerably cheaper than comparable Japanese vans. In 2010 I took a look at them again and they were considerably cheaper than what Toyota or Honda had to offer. IIRC the GC was 8k cheaper with discounts. I spent the extra 8k and got the Sienna. I like the fact that I’m not sitting in their service department 3-4 times a year for warranty and recall work. The Sienna’s current residual value is 10 times higher than what we got for the GC at 1,300 dollars.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        Yep. On a limited budget I’d get a used Odyssey or Sienna over a new Caravan/T&C any day (which is exactly what I plan to do when my current Odyssey craps out). I have no desire to spend family vacations and work commute time stranded at the side of the road.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Do they really strand people? From what I’ve heard, it’s more like a death from a thousand cuts; check-engine lights, dead AC, front-end work, rust. None of it will strand you, but it’s still annoying.

          Obviously, the new van was designed by a completely different company with different priorities. The new V6 is dependable in a lot of applications, and they may have addressed the poor quality of sub-systems.

          • 0 avatar
            vtecJustKickedInYo

            Heavy, when I was a kid I remember being on the side of the road multiple times in our 1993 Grand Caravan. A vacation to North Carolina from Georgia was the final straw as the van electrics would fully discharge the battery if left off for 2 hours. We scrapped it for a new 2000 odyssey and that van ran for 15 years with it only needing a starter. Needless to say, my parents only buy Hondas now.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            vtec,

            1993 was 23 years ago! Chrysler’s been through 3 owners since then, more if you count the US and Canadian governments.

            I am surprised that no one could diagnose the power drain. If the battery test OK, then it’s a matter of looking at which circuits are lit-up.

            The market has changed a lot since 1993. Many would argue that Honda and Toyota peaked in the 1990s (I know some techs who do).

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Ahh, the second generation Odyssey. The only minivan to rival FWD Ford minivans and Chrysler minivans in trans failure rates.

            I see them (along with first gen MDX’s) for cheap all the time with “needs transmission, does not drive”.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            It’s a real tribute to Honda’s engineering prowess that to this day people still bring up the transmission issues they once had with the V6 engines. Even the mighty Honda made a mistake.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          The current Caravan is the most amount of vehicle available for around $20k new here in Ontario.

          Used ones, well… When they would get traded in all I could think of was how I was told by a manager once that used minivans are giant Tupperware containers on wheels full of germs. Inside and under the seats it’s other people’s kids spit, snot, food, turds and dog hair among other various fluids.

          Hearing that kind of stuck with me

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Dealers constantly advertise too good to be true price leader deals. Don’t be so gullible.

      The Pacifica is incredible, really. I have one. Nothing in the segment compares.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I like the mini van when I have rented them, do not trust the FCA engineering but they make a good van, no idea how it holds up and for most folks they can not afford the extra cash for a Honda or Toyota and roll the dice with the FCA vans, sometimes you win sometimes your tranny blows up and FCA puts another in.

    It seems FCA will be basically out of the car business pretty soon,

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      I know a fair number of Caravan/T&C owners, and the tranny blowing up is not a “sometimes” issue. More like a “count on it every 40-50,000 miles (or less)” issue.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Which generation? Certainly those built around Y2K, but is it still happening with Pentastar-era vans?

        By the way, Honda and Ford minivans from the same era also blew transmissions regularly. At least the AC worked…

        • 0 avatar
          Sloomis

          The people I’m thinking of had model years ranging 1999 to 2008. A couple of them have owned multiple models despite the problems, because they’re so cheap. One family member who had owned a few told me his philosophy for Chrysler vans was buy new with the extended warranty so the first transmission is covered, then trade it in at 90-100,00 miles when the second transmission is due to go, and repeat the process.

          Honda had their problems fairly well resolved by 2004, didn’t they? Even so, I doubt they lost transmissions at the rate of the Chrysler vans. I have a 2005 Odyssey with no issues, and I know a fair amount of other folks with 2000s-era Odysseys who haven’t had issues either.

          All of this is strictly anecdotal, I acknowledge.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            I think the Chrysler transmission issues were resolved around the same time (mid-2000’s). I haven’t heard many complaints about stuff built in the last 10 years.
            It takes a very long time to shake a bad reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        What is it about the 90s era? By the late 60s the Torqueflite was damned reliable. Then everything started to go to hell.

        I have a TF999 in my old Jeep (classic 3 speed, no electronics or overdrive…. it went 200k before its first overhaul (was dropping but still functional). I wonder what went so terribly wrong in the 90s.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Those minivans were built on car platforms, their transmissions may have been overworked.

          Your Torqueflite was designed in the era of 2.5 ton cars with big blocks, it wasn’t even stressed in a Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        colin42

        Sloomis

        The data doesn’t support you opinion

        http://longtermqualityindex.com/vehicles/Honda_Odyssey.html

        http://longtermqualityindex.com/vehicles/Chrysler_Town_and_Country.html

        Looks like Honda solved the transmission issue by 2007, but T&C had a more reliable transmission than the average on all but 2 years

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    re: FCA’s 14,000 cars sold vs 18,000 Sentras. One big difference is that the 4 remaining FCA cars are much more expensive and profitable. Even the tiny 500 sells for more than a Sentra does, and I bet it costs a lot less to build.

    Before people complain, I know you can find base manual 500s with steel wheels advertised for low low prices. Automatics with a few options sell for a lot more.

    FCA uses the same tactic with the Wrangler: bring shoppers in with a low advertised price of $23, and then upsell them with 4 doors, a roof, a transmission, air, etc. Then they literally upsell them again with a lift kit and balloon tires. Before they know it, shoppers are considering monthly payments that stretch-out well into the next decade.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Nissan is definitely making more money in aggregate on Sentras due to the higher volume, and I would bet on a per car sales basis too. Where I am dealers are offering $1500 off MSRP on Sentras. By comparison they are lopping $4000 off 500s.

      Plus I’m not sure why 500s are being compared to Sentras… I’m guessing because they are close in MSRP? 500 competes with the Versa, which for even the same $$$ is a much better car.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I’m not sure why either. Seems random.

        That being said, the people I’ve met with 500s bought them fully loaded. The people I’ve met with Sentras got as close to base as they could stand. It’s a different market, people buy the 500 because they like it, whereas people buy the Sentra because it’s cheap.

        Which one is a better car isn’t an issue. I know someone who’s got well over 100k on his 500 with no issues other than a hatch lock malfunction (warrantied). Is the Sentra or Versa better? Maybe, but probably not by much. They are all good enough that you can buy the one that makes you happy.

        • 0 avatar
          cls12vg30

          Anecdotal response: Last year my wife fell in love with and purchased a 2015 500 Sport. I was skeptical at first, but that little car won me over quickly. I compared it to other subcompacts I’ve driven, namely my brother’s Yaris and a Mazda2 I rented in LA last December. They both feel like loud, tinny, thin-skinned, rattling crapboxes compared to the Fiat, which feels surprisingly smooth and refined. 15 months and 15k miles after purchase, the 500 has been trouble-free despite the fact that my wife tends to be anything but gentle with her cars.

          • 0 avatar
            yamahog

            You know, Italian cars seem to work better the harder you drive them. I mean, they work for Italians and I’ve seen Rome traffic set paces that would shame local autox drivers.

            I know Italian cars get a bad rap but if you drive them regularly and occasionally wring their necks, they seem to hold together at least as well as German cars. It’s weird the Fiesta St holds its value so much better than the Fiat 500 Arbath because long term reliability edge between the two seems like a coin-toss.

          • 0 avatar
            mik101

            @yamahog & cls12vg30

            Anecdotal of course but much of the Fiesta issues are DCT and MFT. Mine has neither of those and other than the cheap factory speakers, there has been nothing it needed a return to the dealer for. (Its a 2014 model — there have been running changes to the fusebox etc that made prefacelift models worse.) Compare that to my best friends 500 that has needed many parts replaced due to wear with less than 40,000km on it. The factory strut mounts for example are complete trash. The aftermarket has Fiat covered though. The ignition coils are trash too. He upgraded to the ones for the Alfa 4c and hasn’t had a problem with them since (different suppliers).

            Both cars are at the bottom of the consumer reports surveys for different reasons. The Fiat because it breaks a lot, and the Fiesta because folks won’t row their own, and are too clueless to use MFT.

            I would take the ST over the Abarth any day of the week.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Why am I still not seeing the new FCA minivans on the street? It’s really weird.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I, for one, am very pleased the Pacifica is doing well.

    I test drove one about a month back. I was very happy with it. The test was a real tough one, testing the van in starts on hills and driving up and down the hills of a mountain town in the Ozarks.

    The van had absolutely no problems and effortlessly did the hills and the trans worked great. I really gave it the test, getting on and off the accelerator at weird times just to see how it would react.

    It was great. Extremely quiet and the drive solid. Visibility was again terrific as minivans are.

    At the end, there was some discussion between all the sales folks there as to why it felt so good and it seems there are two suspensions in the Pacifica. A base and a better, upper trim option. Not sure which one this had as the sales guys didn’t seem to know and were busy reading all the literature.

    MPG on the test was showing an average of 21. Can’t remember the miles on this new, but previously tested van was.

    I am waiting to test the hybrid and see where they price it.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I put 5,000 miles on a fresh Pacifica in the last 2 weeks. It’s fantastic. The chassis is very well sorted, ride is nice and handling is sharp. Even laden with 1,000 extra lbs. The interior, comfort, versatility and features are unmatched. The 9 speed transmission was smooth and responsive (really). Keeping around highway speed limits, it averaged 28 mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Fantastic.

        I wonder if it is true about two different suspension set ups and if so, which one does your car have.

        I am, for reasons of age, looking forward to the hybrid.
        Us old farts seem to like minivans and large SUVs for some reason.
        IF I can get Hybrid around my Florida winter town MPG like they are promising, I will love to have such a car.
        The loss of the Stow N Go will be big, since taking seats in and out and storing for rare times is still a big hassle.

        I don’t know what car I will look sillier in; the new Miata or the Pacifica!
        I’d love to have both in my garage.

  • avatar

    Chrysler has been challenged in the sedan segment for a few years now. To the point that Chrysler dealers have little to no interest in keeping sedans in inventory.

    While the market is shifting to “utilities” and to Chrysler’s advantage with the Jeep brand. They are taking advantage of the shift.

    The “deals” on the new Pacifica which is a great replacement to their minivan. Chrysler is very aggressive to sell vehicles, and especially gain an additional advantage capturing sales from competitors with the Pacifica.

    The Pro Masters are commercial trucks and should not be part of any passenger vehicle discussion. Lets compare Pro Masters to Econolines, Savanna vans, NV2000’s, Sprinters etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      You may have missed the point.

      FCA is losing boatloads of car volume. So why isn’t FCA’s total volume decreasing?

      Jeep. To a lesser extent, pickup trucks. Also minivans. Also commercial vans.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      The ProMaster doesn’t compete with the E-Series (Econoline) any more, as that vehicle is only sold as a cutaway or stripped chassis, neither of which Ram offers. Who would want a FWD stripped chassis? Lol maybe someone who didn’t want to look at the ProMaster’s ugly mug. But, they would just buy a Transit, the one that dominates the full size van market now, and manages to not be hideously ugly.

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    Not sure why Chrysler vans of the last decade are getting such a bad rap, I just had a buddy of mine hit 225k miles on his bankruptcy era {2008-2009] with only an A/C compressor replacement, not too shabby I’d say.

    Doesn’t much matter at this point, Fiat-Chrysler in all it’s brilliance is discontinuing T&C & Caravan, despite owning the commercial livery market after the demise of the Panthers, good luck luring Caravan
    buyers into a Sienna priced “Pacifica”.

  • avatar
    zip94513

    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.

  • avatar
    kit4

    driven tons of Chrysler minivans up to today’s models including the Pacifica.

    Junk then, junk today.

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