By on September 5, 2017

2017 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk - Image: JeepAugust 2017 represented the twelfth consecutive month in which U.S. sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined on a year-over-year basis.

FCA volume slid 11 percent in August, a loss of nearly 21,000 sales, as retail and fleet volume declined. The decreases were most keenly felt at Jeep and Chrysler, which tumbled 15 percent and 33 percent, respectively. But Dodge, Ram, and Fiat sales also reported losses compared with August 2016.

More troubling than the poor August results, however, is the predictability of August’s results. FCA’s disappointing trendline began in September 2016. Year-over-year, FCA lost 187,000 sales over the last 12 months.

Of course, partly to blame for FCA’s malaise is the overall new vehicle market’s modest downturn. In each of the last eight months, FCA declined as the U.S. new vehicle market declined. The difference? FCA began losing sales as the U.S. auto industry gained thousands of sales at the tail end of 2016, and FCA’s decline is far more severe than the market at large.

Year-to-date, the U.S. auto market is off 2016’s record pace by just 3 percent. FCA, formerly Chrysler Group, was selling at its best rate in more than a decade last year, but is off that pace by 8 percent in 2017.

Chief among the reasons for Fiat Chrysler’s consistent slowdown is a major transition period at Jeep. With the JK Wrangler at the end of its line, sales growth in that model line has been nonexistent in 2017. The old Cherokee, not regarded as a class leader when it was new four years ago, is certainly not the leader of the pack now — Cherokee sales are down 25 percent this year and plunged 50 percent in August. The Patriot’s discontinuation and new Compass’s arrival resulted in a 70,646-unit loss through the first two-thirds of 2017. The Renegade’s 0.5-percent uptick is inconsequential. Only the Grand Cherokee’s 17-percent rise stands out as a meaningful positive.

Fortunately for FCA, these Jeep outcomes are expected to shift as the new Wrangler comes on board and the first-gen Compass/Patriot are forgotten. Moreover, these Jeep outcomes were not unanticipated. FCA has altered its fleet sales strategy, and that resulted in a 66-percent drop in Jeep fleet volume in August, for instance.2017 Chrysler 300C - Image: FCAThen again, Jeep isn’t the only FCA brand reporting sharp declines. Chrysler, which is now just a two-model brand, reported a modest 12,652 total sales in August, a one-third drop from the same period a year ago. Chrysler brand car sales plunged 47 percent in August as the 200’s disappearance approaches completion and as 300 sales continue to dive. The bigger sedan reported a 23-percent August drop. Chrysler minivan sales, meanwhile, are down 9 percent this year as the brand moves into the more premium Pacifica phase, away from the Town & Country.

Fiat’s U.S. volume is down 14 percent this year. Dodge is off 5 percent. Ram sales, bolstered by a high-volume pickup truck line in a truck-friendly market, are up 5 percent this year, though the brand posted a marginal decline over the July/August period.

Of course, Alfa Romeo sales are on the rise, soaring 2,981 percent in August. (To 1,140 total sales.)

Alfa Romeo’s rise may represent a sliver of a silver lining, but FCA’s market share has nevertheless fallen from 13.0 percent during 2016’s first eight months to 12.4 percent in 2017.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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25 Comments on “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Has Now Been Losing Sales For 12 Consecutive Months...”

  • avatar

    GM and Chrysler should just ditch autos and focus on what they do best…trucks and SUVs (Jeeps for Chrysler, Yukons/Tahoes/Escalades for GM).

    • 0 avatar

      Car production lets them amortize crossover development costs over more models while selling some marginal units.

      They aren’t going to stop in the near-term.

    • 0 avatar

      FCA has essentially already done with by discontinuing the 200 and Dart. The only cars they make now are on the old LX platform, or premium Alfa/Maserati models.

    • 0 avatar

      >>GM and Chrysler should just ditch autos and focus on what they do best…trucks and SUVs (Jeeps for Chrysler, Yukons/Tahoes/Escalades for GM).<<

      Ford even more so. Ford is a pickup/truck company that makes rental cars too.

  • avatar

    Lost sales or reduction in capacity? They have had two plants being re purposed.

  • avatar

    Are u sure its just been 12 months?

  • avatar

    Does FCA plan on doing anything with Chrysler? Two models is not sustainable. The Pacifica is actually a very nice vehicle especially with the deep discounts they are offering.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it seems odd.

      A Chrysler version of the Durango seems like a no-brainer, along with near-lux CUVs based on Fiat’s various car platforms without the offroad pretensions of the Jeep models.

      A refresh of the 300/Charger platform would be nice just to make fun of Cadillac if nothing else, but I doubt FCA has the desire for a RWD Large Car development program at the moment.

    • 0 avatar

      I almost didn’t believe the “two model lineup” until I double checked their website.

      Chrysler shouldn’t even exist anymore.

      The fact that Chrysler exists, while Oldsmobile and Pontiac are no more, is offensive.

      • 0 avatar

        The fact that Chrysler exists, while Oldsmobile and Pontiac are no more, is offensive.

        I still say the side profile of a current 300 looks like a rejected design sketch for an Oldsmobile Delta 88.

      • 0 avatar

        It makes no difference since FCA doesn’t follow the Sloan Model. Rebranding both Chryslers as anything else essentially saves nothing since Chrysler dealers are also Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealers.

  • avatar

    Chrysler is 2 car brand and Dodge is what, 5-car? This company is crazy. While people making money on FWD-based SUVs… where are those? Midsize sedan is still a volume seller. They thought that Jeep will do the SUV fight but when people hear Jeep, they think of something else. Here is my plan for FCA

    – Make Dodge a sports car and performance brand. This is where all the R/T etc will go.
    For Chrysler
    – Add FWD Camcord and Civirolla fighters. Don’t source them from Italy.
    – Add FWD-based compact and midsize SUVs
    – improve reliability
    – possibly: make Jeep strictly 4WD brand. Any FWD Renegade should be turned into Chrysler and have optional AWD but not 4WD
    – Either, discontinue FIAT or bring bigger models like “Tipo”

    Thats a start

    • 0 avatar

      They don’t have the money to do any of that. Or modern plants to build them in. With the Sterling Heights plant being changed from making unibody cars, to large body on frame pickups…that is it. They company doesn’t have 10s of billions to design, engineer and build new cars.

      Which was the plan all along. Fiat gets Jeep/Ram and sells it to the Chinese. But the Chinese aren’t paying the asking price. When that lowers, SOON, then Great Wall, or whoever, will take Jeep/Ram and mercy kill Dodge/Chrysler

  • avatar

    Buyers (me) are also waiting for the new Ram

  • avatar

    It’s ridiculous that Chrysler is down to two models. Both the Pacific and 300 are good models, but the 300 is sorely in need of a refresh. There should be a vastly updated Journey coming and it should have a plusher Chrysler counterpart.

  • avatar

    Not a big surprise here. FCA vehicles are consistently at the back of the pack when it comes to customer satisfaction and they have seriously hampered their one brand that does OK in that area, the Wrangler, due to the change over to the new model. It may come back in 2018 if the new vehicle is deemed worthy and they actually ship it soon and ship it working properly.

  • avatar

    Not the big deal this is purported to be.

    Most of the lost volume is from the discontinuation of low or no margin vehicles and a dramatic reduction in fleet sales. The old Compass, Patriot, Dart and 200 did little for overall profitability. Margins and revenue are up. Sales for the sake of market share didn’t work for old GM and it’s not a good strategy now.

  • avatar

    Until the 1960s Chrysler was a one model brand – every name was just a trim variation of the same body/chassis/drivetrain. They had DeSoto, Dodge and Plymouth for the lower price segments, and Imperial for the premium – and even most of those shared the same basic platform with Chrysler. Today when Chrysler dealers also sell Ram and Dodge, there is no reason to offer a full-model Chrysler lineup.

  • avatar

    Good riddance.

  • avatar

    Buyers have caught that on even Jeep makes low quality products; Cherokee, Renegade and even new Compass are all awful in terms of reliability. And worse Chrysler support is horrible and designed to pro long customers misery so company can save money. I have a Cherokee and it’s been the worst experience I have had in my life when it came to owning a new product.

  • avatar

    So? They’re still making more money than before Fiat bought them and the overall global income is significantly higher across the board. I don’t worry about minutiae which, by the charts, this is, essentially. Sales may be lower than last year, but they’re still much, MUCH higher than 10 years ago.

  • avatar

    >>They’re still making more money than before Fiat bought them <<

    Jeep and Ram are making money but Marchionne is taking that money and throwing it at dead Italian brands like Fiat and Alfa. Meanwhile, the jewels, Jeep and Ram, are being starved. The lack of new product at Jeep especially is Marchionne's fault.

  • avatar

    Absolutely no surprise FCA is where it is at. Honestly Alfa and Fiat really don’t even count since hardly anyone even buys them. The F-150 sells more in 10 minutes than Alfa/Fiat sells in a month. That a guess of course. Jeep and Ram, even with some old products(Ram 1500 is like 8 model years old I think) are keeping FCA alive. Dodge is doing ok I suppose. Chrysler has some nice products that I would buy. The 300S V6 is a really good looking car. Actually owned a 200S AWD and loved it. Sold it just as Sergio badmouthed the 200 which thankfully saved me 1000’s in trade value. Owned 2 Cherokee Trailhawks and liked them both. My biggest complaint with those are the super small gas tank. 15.8 gallons on a SUV that gets like 20 MPG combined is 3-5 gallons to small. The 9spd worked well in all 3 of my cars I had but it felt lost in the Cherokee.

    If I could could I would buy a used 2016-17 Dodge Charger Hemi. They are a great deal in the $23-26K range. Same with the 300S V6.

    I can see why the Chinese only want Jeep.

  • avatar

    What a coincidence, FCA sales drop off after they get busted for conspiring with Santander to push through subprime loans without validating credit. Truly a mystery here.

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