By on January 7, 2020

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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46 Comments on “What Outsold Chrysler in 2019?...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Chrysler sold three new 200s last quarter, bringing the total number of 200s sold in 2019 to 48. ”

    Which just goes to prove that when it comes to the 200 Chrysler sold everyone they made, it just took a few years

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d have to think it’s no good for a car to sit on a lot for three years.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        My guess is they were factory cars or cars in some kind of weird status. I’ve seen in the factory only sale reports weird stuff like that, I’ve even seen them sell cars without motors. How this even happens and why someone would buy it I do not know.

        Here’s an example from the Ford Factory Sale at the old BAA north of Pgh:

        2017 FORD FOC SEL 4G 5DHB A PS AC SR 4X2 2,290 GOLD $13,600

        MY17 would have been built in 2016, so its 4yo with no miles on it. Prob something weird like taken to car shows and then shelved somewhere in the Ford empire.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I heard they crush all the cars that they display at auto shows.

          • 0 avatar
            Mnemic

            Lol no, they fix anything that needs fixing and sell them at dealer only auctions. Probably owned one and not even known it. There was a batch of I think 25 grand cherokee trackhawks that had been used in auto shows and then beaten on as press cars and everyone in the community was watching where they ended up to avoid them. Any new “factory exec driven demo” at the dealership with little mileage was a press car.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      You wonder about the folks who bought them. People who just needed an inexpensive set of new wheels. Fleet or company car folks. Longtime Mopar owners.
      I have a soft spot for the 200 in C or S trim with the Pentastar and awd. They should have offered a sport hatch version for people who didn’t want to go for a Jeep but needed the versatility of a hatch.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tesla’s Model 3 outsold all of Chrysler by a wide margin. But it also outsold a bunch of other brands, too.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    Is it even possible for them to come out with a hit anymore? They’ve surrendered the field in just about every category of vehicle. I’ve always thought that with any product, if you keep surrendering shelf/lot/market space, you reach a tipping point that can’t be reversed.

    If tomorrow they brought back the Imperial or a snazzy electric car and it was as nice or better than a Genesis or Tesla, would anyone buy it?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, it’s like a restaurant that eliminates steak and lobster from the menu because of low sales, eventually all they sell is hamburgers. The restaurant finally closes because all they have on the menu is… hamburgers

      • 0 avatar
        Thomas Kreutzer

        Like McDonalds?

        I probably buy 100 hamburgers for every steak I eat. Chrysler could be huge selling just one or two things as long as they were the one or two things people wanted.

        Chrysler isnt just being allowed to either and die, it is actively being throttled. One day when it is dead, the people in charge will do their best Urkel and ask, “Did I do that?” It’s too bad, I am a Chrysler guy just like my father was an Oldsmobile guy. Once Chrysler goes I won’t have any reasons to visit an FCA lot.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I doubt it since non Tesla EVs don’t really sell. The time to do a LWB 300 as an Imperial was years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        Greg Hamilton

        I always thought that Imperial show car was sweet. Fitted with a hemi and AWD that might have sold well, but I guess the financial risk wasn’t worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      WildcatMatt

      As hard as it is to recover from losing critical mass (the death sprial of Studebaker is instructive here), it’s easier than coming back from the grave. Note that the Voyager is coming back as a Chrysler and not as a Plymouth.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    As someone who comes from a Mopar family, where a fleet of Cordobas populated every holiday gathering, it’s very sad to see this. While Chrysler has had some monstrous failures over the years, they also lead the way on engineering and brought a number of major innovations to the industry. This was a legacy of Walter Chrysler’s (and the Dodge Brothers’) focus on making cars better instead of making more of them.
    But decades of fighting just for third place, and then getting hammered by the imports, have taken a toll. The glory days of minivans and LH’s are long gone, and I fear the Chrysler brand is not long for this world. Dodge too, once the fascination with all things “retro” dies with the boomers.
    I wish I still had my ’70 Newport.

  • avatar
    Hank

    Perhaps the only surprise here is that Chrysler outlasted Marchionne, who seemed bent on killing both Chrysler and Dodge, and own could argue they are but walking dead. They’ve both become little more than wrappers for HEMI engines stale tall wagons.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    FCA decided to put all its SUV/CUV eggs in the Jeep basket and to stop selling most cars for lack of profits. Those two things together meant there was almost nothing left for Chrysler.

    But the minivans and 300 don’t quite fit into any other FCA brand. Dodge has a connotation of cheapness that doesn’t match those products’ semi-upmarket aspirations. They don’t have even flimsy off-road pretenses so they don’t fit in Jeep.

    We’ll see if PSA is as happy as FCA to have lots of limited-use brands sitting around.

    • 0 avatar
      Victor

      Maybe PSA will just rebrand 300 and Pacífica as Talbots, they have done that before. Or, more likely, they’ll finally take Chrysler behind the shed since theoretically Peugeot could fit the quasi-premium bracket Chrysler was supposed to fit.

  • avatar
    The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

    Outside of a platform share with the new Grand Wagoneer or Grand Cherokee, where do you go? See if third time is the charm and rebadge a premium trim Ram 1500?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Does this mean the oft-rumored, new-for-2019 Chrysler CUV isn’t coming? Say it ain’t so.

    • 0 avatar
      WildcatMatt

      I honestly don’t understand why Chrysler doesn’t have a CUV. Not everybody wants a minivan, and not everybody wants a Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        Victor

        FCA does not develop new cars outside Jeep and Ram. Fiat is also dying without new cars. Other than the Freemont (née Journey) the only CUV they ever had is the 500x.

        Lancia is dying as well, and since Giorgio is moving upstair to Maserati even Alfa Romeo might not be around after the Stelvio life cycle.

  • avatar
    Mnemic

    I don’t see PSA even trying to relaunch the french brands in NA, but they are coming so I think we can assume they’ll be sold as Chryslers. The DS7 crossback will do well as a chrysler and so will the peugeot 2008.

  • avatar
    bpscarguy

    I cannot figure out why they do not bring the Aspen back. It would be easy to reskin a Durango with Chrysler look/interior/badge and with today’s SUV crazy market… draw in sales would it not? Maybe even throw in a version of the Compass?

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Over the holidays, I started watching for FCA adverts on TV. I saw one Ram ad several times. I saw one Jeep ad several times. I even saw an Alfa ad a couple times.

    Dodge? Chrysler? Fiat? Not a single mention, anywhere I was watching. They aren’t even trying anymore.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “The maker of such diverse nameplates as the 300, which debuted in 2004…”

    You mean 1955, right? The 300C.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I hate this new commenting system with a passion. I post something, then I have to click the “Read all comments” thing again, then scroll down again.

    Click counts.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Yup, there has to be some reason for progressing from the worst comment system out there to one that’s even worse. This place is kind of like Alfa and JLR vehicles, perennially at the bottom of the heap but bound and determined to be alone in last place.

      Healey is managing editor, introduced this new layout, asked for comments, and promptly went and ran and hid. Useless.

      No doubt he’s planning his next press jaunt, after which we’ll no doubt all be treated to a nail-biting, gut-wrenching, hard-to-put-down rewrite of a corporate press release. With mild caveats.

      Hellooooo! Anybody there? Hey, how about some improvements? Click on a comment on the RHS of the page, and you don’t go to that comment. Oh, no. Too simple. All you get is the read more comments button. Is anyone really in charge here? Or more appropriately, does anyone running this website give a damn about its customers?

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I don’t think it was their idea. I think it was forced on them by their corporate overlords. I don’t think they can flip a switch and un-do it. If you’ve never had a corporate overlord, you should try it sometime – it’s “interesting.”

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Wait until the current crop of automotive stylists ‘rediscovers’ the fact that you can extend the C-pillar treatment onto the rear door (first picture).

    (See the recent Fisker article – they might be ahead of me on this.)

  • avatar
    Bobby

    For starters, if I were running the Chrysler brand I’d give them two retro-themed crossovers both in the style of the original PT Cruiser. But unlike the original PT Cruiser, they’d both have available AWD and be designed as premium Chryslers from the get-go, unlike the original which was supposed to be a lowly Plymouth. Hybrid/plug-in hybrid models would also be available.

    Main reason they’d be “retro-themed”: The Jeep brand already sports a full lineup of regular crossovers/SUVs, and since most Chrysler and Jeep dealers are under the same roof, you’d end up with very similar looking models sharing the same showroom floor otherwise.
    The smaller of the two crossovers, called PT Cruiser, could maybe be based on the existing Cherokee, just with a wider stance to accommodate bulging fenders. And the other longer one could be called Town & Country (since that nameplate has been freed-up now that their minivan is called Pacifica).

    As for the 300 sedan, its LX platform might be practically ancient but I don’t see why they can’t make some enhancements to it and keep making it as long as it and its Charger cousin sell reasonably well. To cut costs maybe the next 300/Charger could share the same doors but employ little tricks to make them look like they’re not the same (300 could have chrome door handles/side mirrors, Charger body-color; the 300 doors could have a smooth surface, the Charger could have cladding that continues character lines that start on the fenders, give both models different rear door glass, etc. )

    Recap:
    Pacifica: minivan (I’d deep six the Voyager name)
    Pt Cruiser: compact crossover
    Town & Country: midsize crossover
    300: bargain basement luxury car

    • 0 avatar
      Victor

      They should go ahead and turn Chrysler into a trim level for Dodge and Ram. It could be their Denaly. Maybe with rich corinthian leather.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      >>Main reason they’d be “retro-themed”: The Jeep brand already sports a full lineup of regular crossovers/SUVs,<<

      It crossed my mind that the Pug 3008 and 5008 could be badged as Chryslers here. If the compliance cost is low enough, any extra volume will help amortize development costs. If they thought it was worth the trouble, they could federalize the 508 as a new Chrysler sedan.

      But still, that would cloud the positioning that FCA has been moving to, that all SUVs are Jeeps and sedans are dead.

  • avatar
    Victor

    They should go ahead and turn Chrysler into a trim level for Dodge and Ram. It could be their Denaly. Maybe with rich corinthian leather.

  • avatar
    AdamOfAus

    I saw a bunch of Chryslers when I watched The Wraith again recently. Good flick. Fewer and fewer folks must not be able to remember when they were a mainstream brand.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Pretty soon, the only iconic Chrysler “product” will be the Chrysler building in New York.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    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.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    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.

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