Chrysler Sales Leap 40% in February, Pacing the Auto Industry

March 1, 2012
The automaker's momentum 'continues to be nothing short of phenomenal,' senior analyst Michelle Krebs says.

A reborn Chrysler Group LLC outpaced the rest of the auto industry with a 40% year-over-year increase in February vehicle sales.

The automaker reported February sales of 133,521 units, up from 95,102 units in February 2011.

The numbers mark Chrysler's best February sales since 2008 and its 23rd consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

"Chrysler's sales performance continues to be nothing short of phenomenal," senior analyst Michelle Krebs said, noting that the sales numbers not only led the industry but also exceeded projections.

Chrysler-brand vehicles set the pace for the automaker, posting a 114% year-over-year jump in sales.

February sales of the Chrysler 200 increased 315% year-over-year.
Year-over-year sales of the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan shot up 315% to 9,717 units, while sales of the Chrysler 300 luxury sedan jumped 480% to 7,670 units, according to the automaker.

The Fiat brand finished its first year of sales in the United States with its best month, posting a 69% leap in sales over January.

"A few years ago, higher fuel prices were a major threat to our total vehicle sales, whereas today those higher prices have become far less of an issue," said Reid Bigland, president and CEO-Dodge Brand, and head of U.S. sales. "We now have 13 vehicles with an EPA-rated highway fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon or higher, and six of those vehicles get 31 mpg or higher."

Krebs noted that Chrysler posted stellar results despite "a hefty 24% decline in incentives compared with a year ago."

"Higher sales and lower incentives spending will prove to be a winning combination when Chrysler reports financial results," Krebs said.

All five Jeep-brand models posted double-digit-percentage gains in sales, led by the Jeep Grand Cherokee's 47% increase.

Meanwhile, the Dodge Durango SUV, the Dodge Journey full-size crossover and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan each posted year-over-year sales gains in the double digits.

Sales of the Dodge Ram pickup truck jumped 21% in February, marking the Ram's 22nd straight month of year-over-year sales gains.

Chrysler said it finished the month with a 66-day supply of inventory, (354,928 units).

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About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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