Fiat Chrysler December Sales Down 10% as Jeep Sales Slow

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Year over year, sales dropped 10% at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) in December to 192,519 units. The Jeep brand posted a sales drop of 6% year over year as the Jeep Cherokee showed a sales decline of 34% and the Patriot posted a monthly sales drop of 37%. Grand Cherokee sales rose 13% and Compass sales increased by 10%.

For the year, total U.S. vehicle sales were essentially flat.

According to industry researcher firm ALG, FCA’s incentive spending came in at $4,291 per unit, up 22% year over year and up 0.5% compared with November 2016. Unit incentive spending totaled $4,190 at Ford and $4,611 at GM, up 34% and 14%, respectively, year over year.

Analysts at Edmunds had projected December sales at 187,821 units, a 12.2% year-over-year decrease. KBB had estimated unit sales of 190,000 at an average selling price of $35,700 for December, down 11.2% year over year in sales and down 1.5% month over month in average selling price.

The company’s Jeep brand sold a total of 83,159 units in December and has sold a 12-month total of 926,376, down 6% month over month, but up 6% year over year. The all-new Jeep Renegade sold 106,606 units in 2016, up 75% compared with the same period last year.

Ram pickup sales increased 15% in December to 47,556 units, and posted a full-year sales increase of 9%. Last year, Ram sold 41,398 pickups in December and 450,122 in all of 2015.

Year over year, sales of the company’s Chrysler brand dropped 32% as sales of the Chrysler 200 fell 73% year over year in December to 2,643. FCA is doing its best to sell all dealer inventory on this discontinued model. Sales of the Chrysler 300 fell 16% to 3,584 units. The all-new Pacifica minivan posted December sales of 10,283 and has sold 62,366 since first becoming widely available in April.

The company’s Dodge brand sales fell 21% year over year in December, while sales of the Dodge Caravan dropped 43% to 6,687 units in the month. The company’s Journey compact sport utility vehicle saw sales jump 25% year over year to 9,768 units sold in December.

FCA has some work to do to shed its image as the country’s worst automaker. So far, however, the company has demonstrated little interest in improving that image. That will have to change.

Chrysler’s shares traded up about 1% midday Wednesday, at $9.65 in a 52-week range of $5.45 to $9.68.

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