Picking up right where it left off in 2011, the Chrysler Group opened the 2012 selling season with a 44 percent leap in deliveries in January, besting by far the performances of both Ford and General Motors. The former managed a fairly modest 7 percent bump in sales last month, while the latter endured a 6 percent drop off.
Read on for the sales details from all three.
Coming off a year in which it was the country’s fastest growing full-line automaker—thanks to a 26.2 percent sales improvement—the Chrysler Group posted a very strong performance across all brands in January. The Chrysler division proper led the way with an 81 percent gain, based primarily on strong demand for the Chrysler 200, with sales up 789 percent, and the Chrysler 300, which garnered a 273 percent advance.
As was the case throughout all of 2011, all members of the Jeep brand rang up at least double-digit sales growth, with the Jeep Compass (+64 percent) and Jeep Liberty (+68 percent) setting the pace. Overall, the division was good for a 37 percent improvement. Upping the ante even further, three different Dodge vehicles reaped triple-digit growth in the prior month: Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango. But even as demand for that trio increased by between 146 and 169 percent, it was offset by plummeting sales of the Dodge Nitro and Dodge Caliber, and the result was a 29 percent increase for the division as a whole.
The Ram brand also continued to roll. It was the fastest growing full-size pickup line in 2011, then followed up that performance with a 47 percent increase in deliveries in January.
Even the Fiat 500 was good for 1,911 sales last month.
January sales were more of a mixed bag for Ford, although the Blue Oval brand did post its highest January volume in four years. Other high points included a record-setting performance from the Ford Escape, which also had set a full-year sales record in 2011. Last month, the entry crossover hoisted sales by 23.5 percent on 17,259 deliveries; making this even more impressive is the fact that the Escape is in the final months of its current generation’s lifecycle, with the all-new 2013 model set to launch later this year.
The Ford Explorer remained on the rise, too, courtesy of a 35.6 percent move northward, and the Ford Focus had its best January since 2003. The Blue Oval’s compact enjoyed a 59.8 percent improvement in deliveries last month. Other winners of note for Ford in January were the Ford Ranger (+77.1 percent), Ford Taurus (+19 percent), Ford Mustang (+18 percent) and Lincoln MKS (+23.3 percent).
Unfortunately, other core members of the Ford family fared much worse. The Ford Fiesta lost 18 percent of its January 2011 sales and the Ford Fusion slipped by 5.1 percent, while the Ford Flex struggled to a 26.9 percent fall off; and all told, Lincoln division deliveries were down by 7.9 percent.
In a stark counterpoint to the situation at the Chrysler Group—where, as already mentioned, all divisions were in the black in January—all four of the General’s brands lost ground last month. Buick deliveries dropped by 23.1 percent, Cadillac was down by 29.1 percent, 9.7 percent of GMC’s January 2011 sales evaporated and Chevy sales were off by 1.2 percent. And just three vehicles from the entire Cadillac, Buick and GMC lineups achieved any growth at all in January: Buick LaCrosse, +6.4 percent; GMC Savana, +16.7 percent; and GMC Canyon, +52.6 percent.
There were a few more Bow-tie bright spots, however: the Chevy Cruze and Chevy Equinox benefited from 10.4 and 6.3 percent sales improvements, respectively, and the Chevrolet Camaro reported a 19.9 percent jump; the Chevrolet Sonic also maintained its momentum, with sales that were more than 108 percent ahead of the Chevy Aveo’s numbers from January 2011. Plus, in an odd bit of synchronicity, the Chevy Colorado joined its GMC sibling in the black, putting up a 30.3 percent leap forward. (Interestingly, then, three of the four small domestic pickups enjoyed significant sales growth last month.)
Perhaps the best news for GM from January: the strongest performer of the month was the Chevrolet Volt, with sales up 87.9 percent!