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Chrysler Sales Rise While Ford and GM Fall

Sales of Chrysler's Ram pickup were up 22% in January, while Ford and GM saw pickup sales fall. Photo credit: Chrysler.

Are Chrysler dealers better at shoveling snow? Ford  (NYSE: F  ) and General Motors  (NYSE: GM  ) both saw U.S. sales fall in January. Both blamed the icy weather in much of the country -- while Chrysler posted an 8% sales gain.

What's behind that rise? Slowly but surely, Chrysler has been gaining momentum. As Fool contributor John Rosevear explains in the following video, now that Chrysler's merger with Italy's Fiat is a done deal, that momentum could begin to shift into higher gear. A transcript follows the video.

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Hey. Fools, it's John Rosevear. So Chrysler had another nice month in January, even though the weather seemed to clobber the other guys. Sales at Ford and GM and Toyota and Honda were all down in January, with everybody blaming the extreme cold weather that we saw in many parts of the country during the month. But Chrysler sales were up 8%. I guess their dealers are better at shoveling snow or something.

And even better for Chrysler, their pickup sales were really strong. Sales of the Ram were up 22% in January, while Ford's pickup sales were basically flat and GM's were way down. And meanwhile, the Jeep brand posted a 38% year-over-year sales gain. They said it was their best January sales result ever. Of course, Jeep has a model that they didn't have at this time last year, the new Cherokee, and that's selling pretty well. But sales of the Grand Cherokee were up 10%, and that's a very profitable product, maybe Chrysler's most profitable product along with the Rams, so that's a promising sign for their first-quarter numbers.

It wasn't all rosy, though. Sales of the Dodge Dart compact have been down for a while. That model had a promising start, but it has really lagged in the marketplace. Sales were down 29% in January. And their big cars continue to struggle. The Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 were both down by big margins in January. Fiat sales were up, though, as the new 500L helped the brand to a 29% gain in the U.S.

Of course, the big news for Chrysler last month was that its merger with Fiat is now complete, and the group is now known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles  (NASDAQOTH: FIATY  ) . And that means we get to talk about Maserati. Maserati has had just a tiny presence here in the U.S., but with the launch of their all-new sedans, the Ghibli and the Quattroporte, Maserati is making a push to get on the shopping lists of more U.S. luxury-car buyers. You may have seen last weekend that Maserati even had a Super Bowl ad, and while their U.S. sales are still tiny, they sold 567 vehicles in the U.S. last month, but that's a 229.7% increase. Maserati sold just over 15,000 vehicles around the world last year, they're looking to sell 50,000 next year, and it's the Ghibli sedan and an upcoming SUV that are going to get them there.

And we've also got Alfa Romeo coming back to the U.S. sometime soon. We don't have all the details yet, but I expect Alfa and Maserati together to make up a premium luxury lineup. This is how this new company is going to compete in the global luxury car market with companies like BMW and Mercedes. So Chrysler and Fiat are one company now, and it's looking like they're on an upswing. Thanks for watching, and Fool on.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 1:24 AM, shineridge wrote:

    My understanding is that Chrysler is now owned by Fiat, an ITALIAN company !!!!! So, after US taxpayers bailed Chrysler out (80's?), that company was given to Fiat. Chrysler is NO LONGER a US company. Period. So, I don't give a CRAP how Chrysler is doing !!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 2:53 AM, Sprintgt wrote:

    Shineridge might be interested to know that since FIAT took over Chrysler after the bankcruptcy, FIAT has bought back from the US government as well as the Canadian government all the share they held and two governments actually made money on the deal. FIAT brought Chrysler back to profitability and increased Chrysler US job counts.

    FIAT management did what Damler and others could not do. They improved the existing car models, brought in new models and made the quality of the Chrysler vehicles noticably better and gained customer satisfaction. This is evident by the increasing market share of Chrysler in the US. Some have said that Chrysler may become the second largest automaker in the US.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 2:55 PM, LouisTewl wrote:

    "It looks like they're on an upswing" - JR, you are truly a master of understatement, from the "damning by faint praise" school. How about that article I sent you about the new Ram eco-boost model, vs Ford? I suppose that would "appear to be an upswing" too.

    That's o.k., JR, I know you're trying - I still say that a lot of the plans FCA under Marchionne has been putting in place were kept quiet to help keep the buy-price for the remaining VEBA share down, and it will still take the rest of this year for this transition to shake out and be known and more fully appreciated, so the stock will probably trade within its range until the NYSE listing.

    Anyway, thanks for reporting. Fool On.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 5:42 PM, NoVaEarly wrote:

    Sprintgt, who are these "some" who have said Fiat may become the 2nd largest automaker in the US? Fiat will almost certainly sell less than 2 million cars this year in the US, which is 300K behind Toyota, 400K behind Ford, and 700K behind GM.

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John Rosevear

John Rosevear is the Fool's Senior Auto Specialist. John has been writing about the auto business and investing for over 20 years, and for The Motley Fool since 2007.

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