Jeep Sales Jump 29%, Leading a Fiat Chrysler May Sales Rise of 11%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) reported Tuesday that May sales increased by 11% year over year to 214,294 vehicles, compared with May 2017 sales of 193,040. The Jeep brand posted a year-over-year sales increase of 29%, as sales of the new Wrangler rose 26% to more than 25,000 units and Compass sales soared 223% to 17,327 units.

The Jeep Patriot showed a year-over-year sales decline of 99% and the Renegade posted a sales drop of 4%. Grand Cherokee sales rose 4% and Cherokee rose 63%. The Patriot badge is being retired and the Compass is now Jeep’s single entry in the compact SUV market.

Analysts at Cox Automotive had projected May sales at 216,000 units, an 11.9% year-over-year decrease. Kelley Blue Book estimated an average selling price of $37,282 for May, up 0.5% year over year and up 0.5% month over month.

FCA continues to implement a strategy of reducing sales to daily rental car companies. May fleet sales accounted for 22% of the month’s sales. May retail sales rose 10%, FCA’s highest monthly sales level since July 2005 and the best level of May retail sales since 2004.

The company’s Jeep brand sold a total of 97,287 units in May. The Jeep Wrangler sold 25,102 units in the month and Cherokee sales rose to 23,789 units.

Ram pickup sales increased by 2% in May to 46,781 units. Last year, Ram sold 44,850 pickups in the month. The May increase comes after two consecutive months of lower year-over-year sales. The new 2018 Ram pickups began shipping to dealers in March.

Year over year, sales of the company’s Chrysler brand fell 18% as sales of the new Pacifica minivan posted May sales of 11,151 units, down 5% for the month. Chrysler 200 sales fell 96% year over year in May to just 88 units. FCA continues to try to sell all dealer inventory on this discontinued model. Sales of the Chrysler 300 dropped 11% to 3,484 units.

The company’s Dodge brand sales rose 4% year over year in May. Dodge Caravan sales rose 12% to 15,487 units in the month. The company’s Journey compact SUV saw sales jump by 37% year over year to 10,966 units in May.

Alfa Romeo sales rose 159% in May, as sales of the new Stelvio pushed the total to 2,377 for the month. The namesake Fiat brand sold just 1,441 units in May, a 46% year-over-year decline.

FCA’s shares traded down about 5.9% Tuesday morning to $21.86, in a 52-week range of $10.16 to $24.95. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $28.61. The share price drop is related to an announced investment plan of some $10.5 billion in electric and hybrid cars, a parting gift from CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is retiring next year.