What Outsold Chrysler in 2019?
Not Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, mind you, but Chrysler. The brand. The maker of such diverse nameplates as the 300, which debuted in 2004, or the Pacifica and its ilk. Or the — wait, no, that’s it.
It’s easy to poke fun at Chrysler The Brand these days, what with Jeep and Ram doing the heavy lifting in terms of sales. As Matthew Guy recently told you, Ram bench-pressed some exceptionally heavy stacks this past year, sailing to new sales heights on the strength of two full-size pickups and a new HD model. Chrysler, barely mentioned in FCA’s recent five-year product plan, sunk to its lowest standing in decades.
Get this brand a new product that’s not just a variant of an existing minivan.
What outsold the Chrysler brand in 2019, you ask? It’s not hard to find an answer. The Mazda CX-5 we wrote about yesterday? That single model easily outsold the Chrysler brand, which unloaded 126,971 vehicles last year — a drop of 23 percent from 2018.
Peering elsewhere in the FCA stable, we can say that Jeep’s Cherokee outsold the Chrysler brand by nearly 70,000 vehicles, and it’s only the third-most popular Jeep model. The fourth-most popular Jeep, the Compass, leapfrogged Chrysler by roughly 17,000 units.
Put another way, Chrysler’s volume these days is about seven Alfa Romeos. Just under seven, to be exact. Which sounds large, until you realize you’d have to quintuple Alfa’s 2019 volume to match the Kia Forte. The Chevrolet Malibu, despite slipping 9 percent in a market that increasingly distrusts anything with a trunk, outsold Chrysler.
While the Chrysler brand gains a new entry for 2020, the Voyager minivan, the total volume of the combined minivans might not grow for the simple fact that the Voyager nameplate takes over for the bottom-rung trims of its Pacifica twin. Pacifica sales, it should be noted, sank 17 percent last year. As for the ancient 300, its days are numbered, and its sales lack the relative buoyancy of its LX-platform Dodge siblings. Americans bought 37 percent fewer 300s last year. U.S. car buyers purchased about half as many Dodge Challengers as they bought Chryslers (of any stripe) in 2019.
Going back in history, you’d have to time-travel to the dismal domestic year of 1981 to find a 12-month span where Chrysler sold fewer cars. It came close in 1992, but Reagan’s inaugural year saw the bankrupt company in the midst of a Lee Iacocca-led turnaround effort that hinged, initially, on a brace of cheap compacts that didn’t gain a Chrysler variant until MY1982.
Just to sledgehammer home the state of Chrysler today, in 2005 — the first full year of 300 production — the brand sold 649,293 vehicles and boasted a market share approaching 4 percent. Last year, the brand sold less than 20 percent of that total, with a market share well below 1 percent.
Late FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said Chrysler would become a “people-mover” brand shortly before his death, and subsequent alterations to the company’s product plan served to make Chrysler even more invisible as head office poured cash into Jeep and Ram. Dumping money into already hot-selling brands to generate even more product is not a bad idea; it’s just startling to see an automaker’s namesake brand tumble so far from the company’s radar.
Speculation about a wholly new model appearing in 2020 seems to have dried up, leaving the future existence of the electric Portal van/CUV promised two years ago in limbo.
Before we leave you, it’s worth pointing out that Chrysler sold three new 200s last quarter, bringing the total number of 200s sold in 2019 to 48. The model ceased production on December 2, 2016. A new Town & Country left an FCA lot sometime in Q4, too.
[Images: Chrysler Corp., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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- Tassos 25 years old, 200k miles, $12,000 devalued worthless Biden Dollars?Hard pass.
- GrumpyOldMan Lost me at the last word of the second paragraph.
- Bobbysirhan I suppose this explains why almost everything that makes a GM product function has been Chinese for several years now.
- Kevin 35 grand if a 2 door but not a 4 door!
- Kevin 35 grand USD for a 57 wagon that still needs lots of work such as spindles body work and what ever else maybe 25 but 35 no thanks I'll stick with what I have. Floor pans replaced and whatever else my 68 chevelle I paid $4800.00 USD 20 years ago and is all original.
Chrysler once sold 150,000 Cordobas a year, many of them no doubt Corinthian Leather clad. How times have changed. How low they have sunken.
My recenly purchased 200c hauls ass, looks great, and even gets decent mileage. All for not much more than the price of a new Mirage. Lot of car for the money.