Chrysler Sales Increase Expected to Top Industry in May

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s (NYSE: FCAU) U.S. sales have outdone the industry for most of the past three years, primarily because of the success of Jeep and the Ram pickup. May has been no exception, as sales are expected to rise 2.9%, compared to May of 2014, to 200,000, as the total for large car manufacturers is expected to drop 1% to 1.59 million.

Car research firm expert Alec Gutierrez of Kelley Blue Book (KBB), which compiled the forecasts, said in a review of the figures:

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expected to narrowly continue its sales gain streak to 62 straight months of growth, largely due to the surging Jeep brand, which is poised to set another record in monthly sales, The all-new Renegade would have helped push Fiat Chrysler’s total even higher, if not for the halt on its deliveries due to a software issue. Nonetheless, the Cherokee experienced similar troubles at its launch in late 2013 and is now Jeep’s top seller.

The Fiat Chrysler improvement comes despite failures of its Chrysler and Fiat brands.

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All other major manufacturers are expected to lose sales in May, compared to the same month last year. Those that will post particularly poor results are Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC), which is expected to have a drop of 5.1% to 145,000. Hyundai Kia sales will drop 3.0% to 127,000. And, Volkswagen results will continue to have a multiyear decline and minimal market share. Sales of the German company’s vehicles are expected to drop 0.1% to 53,000, and its market share will be a tiny 3.3% among the major car companies.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) will vie for the number two spot in sales behind General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), which is expected to post sales of 282,000, down 0.9%. Toyota’s sales are expected to be down 1.7% to 239,000. Ford’s sales are also expected to drop 1.7%, to 249,000.

As for the industry, 2015 could be a record year, or close to it. According to KBB experts:

Total sales are projected to hit 16.9 million units in 2015, a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase and the highest overall total since 2005, when sales fell just shy of 17 million units overall.

Looking ahead, Chrysler may be unable to hold its growth position, with two of its most important brands — Fiat and Chrysler — in deep trouble.

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