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Chrysler Sales Rise While Ford and GM Fall

By John Rosevear - Feb 9, 2014 at 5:00PM

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Chrysler's merger with Fiat is a done deal, and the new company is on a roll.

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 (F 2.33%) and General Motors (GM 2.19%) 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.

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.

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