By on January 6, 2022

 

2015 Dodge Dart Limited, Image: FCA

It’s been a tough 12 months for a lot of people, including some dealer principals and their staff in the front office. Sure, more than a few of them are making bank by charging outrageous markups on the vehicles they do have on the ground but, by and large, overall sales numbers were all over the board for the majority of brands.

We’ve parsed through a few of the stats and unearthed a few notable gems, including how Dodge somehow managed to sell more Darts in 2021 than 2020 – despite it having ended production in September 2016.

It’s unclear whether these Darts are zombified units that have been prowling through American dealerships, looking for revenge over their botched launch in 2012, or if they were buried out behind the wash bay and only unearthed after an intensive round of building renovations. But here they are, with 10 new Dodge Darts being recorded as sold in 2021 (7 were sold in 2020). A true statistician would breathlessly note that’s a 43 percent increase in Dart sales, proving there are only three falsehoods in this world – lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Other weirdness? Jeep claims they sold 16 Patriots (a 433 percent increase over 2020 for all you stats nerds), a vehicle discontinued in December 2016 with leftover stock rebranded as ‘17s. Same goes for the 15 Chrysler 200s that apparently found homes. It could be a case of new owners Stellantis taking this opportunity to clean up the books, placing items in the column in which they belong, or it is possible that one or two of these rigs were pressed into service in some dealer capacity but not officially registered or given an in-service date until now. Whatever. Still makes for interesting reading.

Clear-eyed individuals have noted the Challenger (54,314) has outsold the Mustang (52,414) over the last twelve months, proving that just because something is old doesn’t mean you throw it away. The vast number of special editions thrown at the Challenger by Dodge surely helps, as does various psychotic amounts of horsepower. If you’re wondering, Ford claims they sold a total of 27,140 Mustang Mach-E vehicles, meaning it found more homes than any of the individual Lincoln models (Nautilus/MKX won that award with 24,443 sales).

Another interesting stat is the combined might of Hyundai and Kia totted up more sales than Honda. Since those two brands (plus Genesis) are technically all under the same corporate umbrella, it is not incorrect to say Hyundai Motor Co. outsold Honda Motor Co. in the American market last year. Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis reportedly accounted for a combined 1,489,118 sales (738,081, 49,621, and 701,416) compared to Honda and Acura’s tally of 1,466,630 (the sum of 1,309,222 and 157,408).

Toyota and Lexus combined to topple GM from its #1 perch (2,332,261 vs 2,202,598), a development we’ve covered already. We’re trying to imagine what would have happened to a person who would have predicted such an event had they done so while standing in Gilley’s or any other roadside bar in America back in the 1980s. How times change.

[Image: FCA/Stellantis]

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29 Comments on “Notes from 2021: A Weird Year for American Auto Sales...”


  • avatar
    Fred

    A 5 year old “new” car from Dodge, no thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You’d kinda need a shop, but I’ll buy a new MY16 for 10-12ish and then make a quick 5-7 selling it under what other small new cars are retailing for, bonus if the trims were more upscale. The paper would be the only issue because no warranties and outside of the 60 month window, but again if you have a shop you have (or are) an F&I guy and I’m sure someone will write it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Some of the weirdness is due to supply chain/Covid issues, but some of it marks the beginning of new trends.

    I wouldn’t expect GM to catch Toyota, or Tesla to lose momentum, but I’m much more interested in how much traction Rivian and Lucid achieve this year.

    As for the Dart, it’s a nice-looking car that should have been an EV; its drivetrains were terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “As for the Dart, it’s a nice-looking car that should have been an EV; its drivetrains were terrible”

      Probably easier to just give it one good conventional drivetrain, would have failed even harder as an EV in 2013. Maybe one day we’ll get an explanation for all of the dysfunction behind the Dart, on paper it really seems like it should have at least been average yet:

      “During a press conference held at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, FCA President Sergio Marchionne said: “I can tell you right now that both the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, as great products as they were, were the least financially rewarding enterprises that we’ve carried out inside FCA in the last eight years,” adding “I don’t know one investment that was as bad as these two were.”[49]”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Dart_(PF)

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I see a number of the final 16 Darts and 17 200’s listed on Carvana and other sites with low miles for $15-17k. Just a couple of years ago they were $10-13k. They were decent vehicles, fun with the 2.4 and the manual but FCA should have offered a sport hatchback version as an alternative to crossovers and folks who didn’t want to go full Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @28:
        “Probably easier to just give it one good conventional drivetrain, would have failed even harder as an EV in 2013.”

        Agreed. I just liked its shape, but the Dart was a heavy thing. The 1.4T 5M and 2.0 A that I test drove were awful.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Seems to have had a myriad of electrical issues and numerous other posts I read claimed it got the 9 speed from the Cherokee which was a disaster (thought wiki does not mention the 9 speed). What would have been best for it would probably have been their 2.4 and the Hyundai 6 speed auto as the sole drivetrain, the smaller turbo motor was good in the 500 but as you and others pointed out Dart was too heavy for it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The 2.0L was the same basic engine but it was about 20bhp less and a bit of ft-tq less, but maybe 2.4’s slight bump would have been enough. People were saying the small V6 was awesome from a drivability standpoint but I’m sure was limited to top trims.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        This could be similar to the Golf Mk V situation. It was built like a bank vault and made VW a profit when they sold it in Europe.
        But in the US, they had to decontent and discount it down to compete with the likes of the Nissan Versa. They lost about 4 grand on every Mk V Golf they sold in the US.
        Maybe the Dart’s expensive Italian design and assembly resulted in a similar problem, in addition to the fact that it was not even close to as good as a Mk V Golf.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Toyota put ‘er over the top using annoying pop-up advertisements.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      COTD

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I’d say no. The Tundra is pretty low volume. No harm done harping a truck that almost no one wants.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m sure Toyota is a hoping for a bump on that in this new model.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff S

          Toyota is probably worried about how the Tundra will be accepted with a turbo V6. The V8s in the Tundra were bullet proof literally would run forever. The V6 is more of a compliance with a little better mpgs but probably will not last as long as the V8. Also the redesigned Tundra has polarizing looks. Toyota feels the need to give this Tundra a marketing boost especially on a car site but from the comments this ad might polarize any potential buyers on this site.

          • 0 avatar
            JD-Shifty

            the V8 Tundra is a sweet sweet ride and I would love to have one as my retirement truck

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            With regular maintenance the Tundra V8 probably would outlast any of us. There are a few Tundra’s that went over a million miles and one was bought by Toyota and torn down. Very little wear on that Toyota truck. The 2022 Tundra is probably a good truck but I would doubt the turbo V6 will last as long as the V8.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          If I were looking to buy a new truck, I’d avoid the Tundra, because seeing that ad multiple times every day makes me loathe it.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’m not surprised about the zombie Chrysler sales, I’ll be surprised when we go a year where there are no sales of those zombie models.

    The reality is most of these filter out of the back row of the dealership to the back row of the offsite storage lot. With those storage lots emptied of trucks and Jeeps they finally noticed those sitting in the back row. Additionally many of those dealers are giving up those now unneeded storage lots. So the cars came back to the dealership and while they might have not been front line, at least they could live in the sparsely populated 2nd row where people were amazed to find any new vehicle w/o a $5-$10k or more ADP sticker.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I am quite intrigued on the NOS Dart sales in 2020 and 2021, where on Earth are these things coming from? I checked the block, nothing has come though as a newer model year and all of the MY16s have at least 30K otc. These would have to be untitled or somehow near new to qualify as new sales, so they have to be some sort of factory sale. The cleanest MY16s in turbo did 12,5 so I suppose these “new” sales should be at least that much… but who is buying them and why?

    “If you’re wondering, Ford claims they sold a total of 27,140 Mustang Mach-E vehicles”

    That’s probably true, 2,140 more than I predicted and little under 3,000 less than Ford predicted. Ford was exporting examples through September to Europe at a 2:1 ratio so total production was probably close to 60K units in 2021.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I know some government agencies were buying Jeep Patriots in 2018-19, a couple of years after they were discontinued. They were getting the base model with steelies, most with awd for under $20k fleet price.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      If you add Mustang Mach-Es to normal Mustangs, then they outsold the Challenger.
      Why not? Ford lumps F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550 and F-650 all together under “F Series” in order to “win” truck sales over the GM pickups.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Can GM find me a “new” Oldsmobile LSS?

  • avatar
    Michael500

    The mighty Dodge Challenger outsold the Mustang- with a younger median age buyer. Don’t blame that on the “chip shortage,” no one buys a Mustang with a 4 cyl 2.3L Pinto motor, or a 2.OL 4 banger in the Camaro which is on life support.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    When I was looking for a car in 2019, a local Hyundai dealer had a few zero mile 200s for sale, still with plastic covering the seats. The only stipulation was you had to finance, no cash purchases.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    Damn…

    https://www.carsforsale.com/new-chrysler-200-for-sale-C999165

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