By on August 2, 2018

In a month Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation Inc, described as a “clunker,” numerous automakers took a hit. New vehicle sales in the U.S. fell by 3.7 percent compared to the same month last year, and lucky was the automaker that escaped the buying public’s cold shoulder.

Among the Detroit Three, Fiat Chrysler had the distinction of heading in the right direction as rivals GM and Ford fell. It wasn’t even a close race. FCA posted a year-over-year sales gain of 6 percent, with year-to-date volume up 5 percent. Naturally, Jeep led the way.

But not everything’s rosy on the North American continent. North of the 49th parallel, fate detained FCA’s good fortune at the border, leaving the automaker with a very steep sales loss. Only two brands posted a sales gain in July, and one of them seems to only have one model in the running. 

In Canada, FCA sales fell 33 percent last month. That’s not something that can be explained by the loss of a single selling day. In fact, it was enough to push the entire country’s sales sheet into the red. As Automotive News Canada points out, take FCA out of the picture, and the country’s 3.2 percent sales drop would have been a 0.8 percent sales increase.

Only Alfa Romeo and Chrysler posted Canadian gains in July, but those divisions don’t exactly move a lot of metal. Peanuts, really. The Alfa brand rose 221 percent over the first seven months of 2018, posting a 12 percent year-over-year gain in July. The increase? 10 vehicles. 92 instead of 82.

Chrysler rose 38 percent for the month, though its year-to-date volume is still down 20 percent. All but eight of the 484 Chryslers sold in Canada last month was a Pacifica minivan. Yes, the Chrysler 300 sold eight units in Canada in July. Elsewhere in the company, Ram sank 23 percent, year over year, Dodge declined 46 percent, and Jeep fell 37 percent. Fiat made like the Andria Doria, sinking 53 percent.

Besides the Pacifica, the only other model posting a July sales gain was the Fiat 500L, which saw its volume rise 100 percent. Quite an even number, eh? That’s because sales rose to two vehicles from last July’s one. Fiat’s entire July volume north of the border amounted to 49 vehicles, with the incredible shrinking brand dropping 79 percent, year to date.

In the U.S., the only FCA divisions posting overall losses last month were Chrysler and Fiat. The Italian brand’s year-over-year loss of 45 percent still doesn’t amount to many vehicles, while Chrysler’s 13 percent drop reflects the increasing unpopularity of the 300, not the Pacifica.

With more 2019 Ram 1500 models coming online, FCA’s truck division eked out a 2 percent U.S. gain in July, and a boffo month for the Wrangler and Cherokee pushed Jeep sales up 15 percent. At Dodge, the July bright spot was the perpetually popular Journey (up 23 percent, YoY), and relatively stable Charger (up six percent).

The only Alfa to see upward movement in the U.S. last month was the Stelvio SUV, but only because the model was just trickling onto lots in July of 2017.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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19 Comments on “Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. Sales Success Sure Didn’t Make It Across the Border...”

  • avatar

    Have you seen the prices on the new Rams? Nicely equipped = $80,000. All of their vehicles across all brands are crazy expensive. Seeing how the company is making bank, I bet they made just as much money off what they did sell compared to more sales with $10K on each hood. The CFO has said this is the direction they are going, so expect more of the same as they chase profit over volume.

    • 0 avatar

      What is your definition of “nicely equipped? Every possible option box checked? Even then, $80k is a stretch.

      A 2019 (new body style) Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn crew cab 4×4 MSRP is like $53k. If that isn’t a “nicely equipped” truck by any standard, I don’t know what is. You really need to add another $30k in options just to make it acceptable?

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t find it now, but I saw an F150 at a Canadian dealer that had a window sticker price of $139,000 (Canadian). Wish I’d taken a picture of it.

  • avatar

    I had a similar experience. Walked into an FCA dealer, looking for a steeply discounted Fiat 124, and open to trim and colours and whatever was on the lot. I test drove a 2017, and the sales pitch after went:

    Them: “we’re stuck with these, nobody wants them, it’s been here a year, they’re sales dogs but beautiful cars, you’re a good looking man, we’ll cut you an amazing deal, what’s your price?”
    Me; “I’m looking for later this year, I see this is a two-year old model almost, I’ll be back in October to buy, I think $37k is a great discount but not an insult. If you want to move some car.”
    Them: “Oh gosh, oh golly, these retail for $47k all in…best we can do, amazing deal, we’re totally getting killed on these is…$42k.”
    Me “how about $35k because I’ve changed my mind, you’re ridiculous, and it’s a roadster no one wants. There is surface rust showing on the tailpipe by gum.”
    Them: “Can we interest you in a Ram 1500?”

    I understand they want profitability but a lot of dealers are going to be paying inventory cost over the cold dark winter here in Quebec. And the one year-old used model will be 30% (?) off in Fall private sales.

    • 0 avatar

      Them: “Can we interest you in a Ram 1500?”

      Reminds me of the Baruth brothers telling us “you are not the manufacturers customer, the DEALER is the customer”. I swear every dealer has a list in their head of which models they would most like to sell you in descending order.

      At a Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, JEEP, & FIAT megastore I can guarantee all the bottom slots are occupied by FIATs.

    • 0 avatar

      “…you’re a good looking man…”

      Wow. I guess if you’re ugly, you’re charged more? Haha!

    • 0 avatar

      I bought a 500 Abarth in 2015 and got damn near 10K off. Once they agreed to pay what I wanted for my trade I just pointed to one on the showroom, took it for a spin and signed the deal. As I was driving home I almost had a heart attack trying to find the a/c button thinking I had picked one without A/C! I found it though, been a flawless car for 31,000km so far – time for something else though.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes on all counts above…though I think it’s more if you’re not gonna buy then you become ugly to them.

        The difference between cheap-shiny-suit Mikey at FCA and soft-spoken Julien at Volkswagen dealers…says something fundamental about the manufacturers as well as the dealers.

        • 0 avatar

          I’ve had bad treatment at both dealerships. VW offered me next to nothing for the Fiat when I tried to trade it for a lightly used Passat. They made sure I knew they were offering nothing before even letting me sit in the Passat too. That ticked me off.

          A Chrysler dealer low balled me on my Charger SRT 392 (22,000 when they the same ones were rolling through auctions and getting 38,000). After I got up and left in disgust the clown proceeded to call me for 2 weeks and try to get me back in there.

          Overall we’ve bought 4 new cars from FCA and all except one were flawless and easy.

  • avatar

    That’s strange. Here in the Vancouver area I see lots of FCA vehicles. Jeep Wranglers, Chargers and Challengers seem to be very popular. The Ram is the second most common pickup after the F150.

  • avatar

    “MoDo” is correct. Too much money !

    A black Grand Cherokee sitting in front of the local FCA dealer caught my eye. After taxes and all the fees ,the G.C. would kick the crap out of $70 K (CAN)

    With the possible exception of the Yukon/ Tahoe, the G.C. is arguably the nicest CUV/SUV on the market. That being said , too rich for this Canuck…Eh !

    • 0 avatar

      Find a demo – we bought a 2012 Overland for 41K that had been driven by the owner of the dealership for a few months. Loaded to the gills, original MSRP was 56K. My mom drove it for 2 years and got 35K for it on a trade for a new Cherokee Trailhawk (that I also got a great deal on). She’s had it 3 years now and hasn’t had a single problem with it. Nadda.

  • avatar

    Great reference to the Andria Adoria.

    Is price the reason why wanglers and Cherokees are not selling as well in CA as US as well?

    • 0 avatar

      I assume so. We’re poor in regions too: the Montreal median family income is something like $40k while a downtown tiny one-bedroom in Toronto can cost $2500 a month easy. Keep in mind some options here are much differently priced than in the US. The Golf R is way under $40k US for example, and gas is much closer to $6 per US gallon. No idea what a Jeep costs here but I assume few realistic consumers look at one.

      But I live in Quebec which is a weird market.

      Fun fact: I briefly dated a Doria. Mad as a hatter but well-meaning.

  • avatar

    June was a very strong month for incentives with deals like 25% off MSRP. These programs disappeared for July. Consumers have been trained to wait for the blowout deal.

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