It’s no big secret that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) has been having a sales slump for the past 18 months. In every one of those months year-over-year sales came in lower than the prior year total. But is the solution really to sell vehicles at discounts approaching one-third of the list price?
Partly the deep discount is due to the recent arrival of the redesigned model year 2019 Ram pickups in dealer showrooms. The new pickups, to no one’s surprise, are pricier than the 2018 models and FCA has said it plans to keep the 2018s rolling off the assembly line until the end of this year.
FCA also made a conscious decision significantly to reduce fleet sales and that decision is primarily responsible for the decline in vehicle sales volume. Ram sales, however, rose 2.3% year over year last year to over 500,000 units, not that far behind Chevy Silverado sales of 585,000 units (up 1.9% year over year), though still well behind Ford F-Series sales of nearly 900,000 (up 9.3%).
Now, about that discount. We found a 2018 Ram 1500 Big Horn crew cab with 4-wheel drive and the short box that starts at an MSRP of $43,990 with a total discount valued at $14,309, a savings of 32.5% off the MSRP. The offer is good on selected trucks until April 2 and the buyer must take delivery by that date in order to qualify for the deal. In some cases a discount depends on financing the vehicle with FCA’s Chrysler Capital.
Here’s a list of the available bonuses:
- Retail consumer cash: $3,250
- Chrysler Capital Bonus cash: $500
- DBC Chrysler Capital DB: $1,000
- Truck Month retail bonus cash: $1,000
- DBC bonus cash: $1,000
- Average dealer discount: $4,559
- Big Horn package discount: $3,000
- Total discount: $14,309
Applying all those discounts yields a price out the door of $29,681, which is about $3,000 below the lowest priced 2019 2-wheel drive Ram Tradesman and $6,000 less than the starting price of a 2019 Big Horn.