Fiat Chrysler's U.S. Sales Success Sure Didn't Make It Across the Border

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Cicero1 Cicero1 on Aug 03, 2018

    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?

    • TDIandThen.... TDIandThen.... on Aug 03, 2018

      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.

  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Aug 03, 2018

    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.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 03, 2018

      Exactly. Rebates are expected,and the norm. Just like mosquitoes.

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