Capping off a year in which it sold 1,651,787 units in this country—a 21 percent boost over the company’s 2011 performance—the Chrysler Group posted a December sales increase of 10 percent on 152,367 deliveries. As a result, the automaker extended its streak of consecutive year-over-year sales gains to 33 months, while also achieving both its highest December volume and its highest full-year volume in five years.
“Chrysler Group ended 2012 on a strong note,” agreed Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales for the Chrysler Group and president/CEO of the Dodge brand. “Looking back on 2012, we were again one of the fastest-growing automakers in the country … [and] seven of our vehicles recorded their best ever annual sales in 2012, demonstrating how the quality, design and fuel efficiency of our product line up continues to resonate with consumers.”
The year-end numbers for the Chrysler Group’s group of brands were as follows:
Chrysler—307,967 sales, up 39 percent
Dodge—524,989 sales, up 16 percent
Fiat—43,772 sales, up 121 percent
Jeep—474,131 sales, up 13 percent
Ram—300,928 sales, up 17 percent
December Auto Sales: Chrysler’s Cavalcade of Stars
Now, it must be admitted, however, that when you do ye olde deep dive into the Chrysler Group numbers, you come up with a fairly mixed bag of results. The company garnered much of its gains earlier in the year, and hasn’t improved more than 14 percent in any one month since June—just a tad below the industry rate. On the other hand, that’s certainly better than GM or Ford managed, and a number of vehicles are seeing some notable marketplace momentum.
Here’s a quick rundown of the automaker’s most valuable players for 2012:
- Chrysler 300—Recapturing all of its original mojo and then some, the full-size sedan benefited from a 40 percent volume improvement in December, thanks to 7,175 sales; its annual total of 70,747 sales were 98 percent better than last year and the most since 2007.
- Dodge Journey—One of seven Chrysler Group products to set an annual sales record last year, the high-value Journey delivered 79,563 units in 2012 (+44 percent) after selling 7,688 units in December (+63 percent).
- Dodge Grand Caravan—Consolidating its place as one of the country’s best-selling minivan, the Grand Caravan was good for 14,160 December sales, a 19 percent move northwards; all told, sales of the Dodge jumped 28 percent in 2012, propelled by 141,468 deliveries.
- Dodge Avenger—Gaining some ground in the mid-size sedan segment, the Avenger pushed sales up 19 percent in December (with 7,382 sales) while setting an all-time one-year sales record with 96,890 deliveries (+51 percent).
- Fiat 500—The feisty Fiat battled its way to mainstream prominence last year, backed by 3,707 December sales (+59 percent) and 43,772 total deliveries (+121 percent).
- Ram 1500—Named truck of the year by Autobytel, Motor Trend, AOL Autos and others, the Ram pickup broke the 30,000-sales mark in December, when it enjoyed a 16 percent jump in volume; Ram sales leapt ahead by 17 percent on the year, backed by 293,363 deliveries.
In addition, along with the Dodge Journey and Dodge Avenger, the five other Chrysler Group products to score their highest annual sales totals ever were the Chrysler 200 (125,476 sales, +44 percent), Dodge Challenger (43,119 sales, +9 percent), Jeep Wrangler (141,669 sales, +16 percent) and Jeep Patriot (62,010 sales, +13 percent).
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