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Chrysler Group LLC Reports February 2012 U.S. Sales Increased 40 Percent; Best February Since 2008

Best February sales in four years


February marks the 23rd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains

Ninth-consecutive month of sales gains of at least 20 percent

Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Ram Truck brands each post sales increases in February versus same month a year ago

FIAT brand has its best sales month since launch; sales up 69 percent in February versus previous month

Chrysler brand sales up 114 percent; highest percentage sales increase of all Chrysler Group brands and best February in four years

New Chrysler 300 and 200 sedans each post triple-digit year-over-year sales gains

Sales of Chrysler 300 flagship sedan up 480 percent compared with same month last year; best sales month since March 2008

Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans each post double-digit sales growth

Jeep brand sales up 30 percent; best February sales in five years

All Jeep brand models post double-digit percentage sales gains

Jeep Grand Cherokee logs its best February sales in six years with 47 percent increase

Dodge brand sales increase 27 percent; best February since 2008 and ninth-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth

All six Dodge models in production post double-digit sales gains

Dodge Challenger muscle car and Dodge Journey full-size crossover set new February sales records

Ram pickup truck sales up 21 percent; best February sales in four years

Ram Truck brand reveals its new top-of-the-line Ram Laramie Limited at Chicago Auto Show

Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger achieve five-star vehicle safety score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango share MotorWeek’s ‘Drivers’ Choice Award’ for Best Large Utility

Jeep Wrangler earns Kelley Blue Book’s ‘Total Cost of Ownership Award’ for Mid-size Sport Utility

Fiat 500 named ‘Best Car’ in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s eighth-annual Design Awards

Chrysler 300 named as one of the ‘10 Best Family Cars of 2012’ by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com



March 1, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC today reported U.S. sales of 133,521 units, a 40 percent increase compared with sales in February 2011 (95,102 units), and the group’s best February sales since 2008.

Chrysler Group outpaced the industry in February with its 23rd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The company has beaten the industry average sales increase in each of the last 12 months. It was Chrysler Group’s ninth-consecutive month of sales gains of at least 20 percent.

In February, every Chrysler Group model in production for more than 12 months posted a year-over-year sales gain. The Chrysler brand led the way with a solid 114 percent increase. The FIAT brand finished its first year of sales with its best month ever. Sales of the Fiat 500 were up 69 percent in February compared with the previous month.

“Our product portfolio now contains some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in our company’s history driving our sales up 40 percent in February,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales. “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. 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.”

Another strong showing by its sedans fueled Chrysler Group’s 40 percent increase in February. The Chrysler 300 flagship sedan and Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan each posted triple-digit sales gains, while the Dodge Charger and Avenger sports sedans each logged healthy year-over-year increases. Sales of the Chrysler 300 were up 480 percent in February, the full-size sedan’s fourth-consecutive month with triple-digit gains.

Both the Jeep® and Dodge brands posted year-over-year sales increases in February. All five Jeep brand models posted double-digit percentage sales gains, led by the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 47 percent increase. The three-row 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.

Ram pickup truck sales also were up 21 percent in February, the truck’s 22nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

Chrysler Group finished the month with a 66-days supply of inventory (354,928 units). U.S. industry sales figures for February are projected at an estimated 14.9 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).

February 2012 U.S. Sales Highlights by Brand

Chrysler Brand

The Chrysler brand’s solid 114 percent sales increase in February represented the largest percentage increase of any Chrysler Group brand, the fifth-consecutive month that the brand has posted the largest sale gain within the group. February was the Chrysler brand’s eighth-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and its best sales month since May 2008.

Sales of both Chrysler sedans were up in February, as were Chrysler Town & Country minivan sales. The minivan had its best February in four years. The full-size Chrysler 300 sedan led the brand with a 480 percent increase in February compared with sales in the same month a year ago. The 300, which just earned a five-star safety rating from NHTSA, had its best sales performance since March 2008. The five-star rating is the highest rating for safety by the U.S. government and measures vehicle safety performance in three categories, including front and side crashes as well as for rollover. The 300 also was just named one of the “10 Best Family Cars” of 2012 by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.

Jeep® Brand

Jeep brand sales increased 30 percent in February compared with the same month in 2011, the brand’s best February since 2007. February marked the brand’s 22nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

All five Jeep brand models recorded double-digit sales gains in February, led by the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s 47 percent increase. It was the Grand Cherokee’s best February sales in six years. The Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango shared MotorWeek’s “Drivers’ Choice Award” for Best Large Utility in February while the Jeep Wrangler earned Kelley Blue Book’s “Total Cost of Ownership Award” for Mid-size Sport Utility. The Wrangler registered its 22nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains in February.

Dodge Brand

Dodge brand sales increased 27 percent in February, the brand’s best sales performance in February since 2008 and its ninth-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth.

All six Dodge brand models in production posted sales gains, led by the Dodge Charger and Avenger sports sedans. The Charger just earned a five-star safety rating from NHTSA. The Dodge Challenger muscle car, with its 14 percent increase, set a new February sales record.

The full-size Dodge Journey crossover, with its 28 percent sales increase, also set a new February sales record. February was the Journey’s best sales month since December 2009. Dodge Grand Caravan sales were up 20 percent, the minivan’s best February sales in five years.

Sales of the three-row Dodge Durango SUV were up 26 percent in February. Editors of MotorWeek presented the “Drivers’ Choice Award” for Best Large Utility for the Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show in February.

Ram Truck Brand

Ram Truck brand, which launched a new luxury model last month, posted a 15 percent sales increase in February compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the Ram pickup truck were up 21 percent in February, its best February sales since 2008 and its 22nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The Ram light-duty trucks led the way with a 21 percent increase compared with the same month a year ago. Of the Ram light-duty truck sales, those with regular cabs posted the greatest percentage increase in February.

The Ram Truck brand launched its new luxury model, the top-of-the-line Ram Laramie Limited, during the Chicago Auto Show in February. Featuring premium materials, such as full-leather seating, piano-black interior components and understated exterior badging, Ram Laramie Limited offers a refined luxury alternative to the popular southwestern-themed Ram Laramie Longhorn edition pickup. The brand has successfully added Ram truck models designed for outdoorsmen, tradesmen, first-time buyers and ranchers. The Laramie Limited is designed to meet the high expectations of affluent pickup truck buyers looking to combine capability with elegance.

February 2012 U.S. Sales Highlights

Chrysler brand sales (27,008 units) increased 114 percent in February versus the same month a year ago (12,628 units)
Sales of the Chrysler 200 (9,717 units) were up 315 percent compared with the same month last year (2,342 units)
Chrysler 300 sales (7,670 units) improved 480 percent versus February 2011 (1,323 units)
Chrysler Town & Country sales (9,621 units) were up 22 percent compared with the same month a year ago (7,904 units)
Jeep brand sales (37,312 units) increased 30 percent versus February 2011 (28,619 units)
Jeep Wrangler sales (9,319 units) improved 22 percent compared with the same month last year (7,636 units)
Jeep Liberty sales (7,369 units) increased 25 percent versus February sales a year ago (5,896 units)
Sales of the Jeep Compass (2,780 units) were up 23 percent compared with the same month in 2011 (2,267 units)
Sales of the Jeep Patriot (5,120 units) improved 23 percent versus February 2011 (4,153 units)
Jeep Grand Cherokee sales (12,724 units) were up 47 percent compared with the same month a year ago (8,667 units)
Dodge brand sales (42,692 units) increased 27 percent in February versus the same month a year ago (33,561 units)
Dodge Avenger sales (6,570 units) improved 89 percent compared with February last year (3,477 units)
Dodge Charger sales (7,324 units) increased 124 percent versus the same month a year ago (3,263 units)
Dodge Challenger (3,669 units) set a new February record
Dodge Journey (6,248 units) set a new February record
Sales of the Dodge Durango (3,435 units) were up 26 percent compared with the same month a year ago (2,731 units)
Ram pickup truck sales (22,595 units) improved 21 percent versus February 2011 (18,644 units)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Chrysler Sales Increase 40%
Mar 1, 2012

Ford Motor Co. (F), Chrysler Group LLC and Nissan Motor Co. exceeded analysts’ estimates for U.S. sales in February as the highest gasoline prices in almost nine months boosted demand for cars relative to trucks.

Ford deliveries rose 14 percent to 178,644 cars and light trucks, according to a statement. Chrysler, the automaker controlled by Fiat SpA (F), said in a statement that its sales climbed 40 percent to 133,521. Nissan sales rose 16 percent to 106,731, according to an e-mailed statement.

Light-vehicle sales in February may have run at a 14.2 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That pace would match January’s and be the first time the U.S. posted a 14 million rate in consecutive months since May 2008.

“We are going to see not just 14 million but probably a touch higher,” Maryann Keller, principal of a self-named consulting firm in Stamford, Connecticut, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “It’s been a long time since we’ve sold more than 1 million cars in the month of February and we’re probably going to cross that line this month.”

U.S. auto sales ran at a 13.3 million pace in February 2011, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based researcher Autodata Corp. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 9.4 increase for Ford and 26 percent gain for Chrysler. The average of seven estimates was for a 6.1 percent gain for Nissan.
Higher Confidence

Consumers gained confidence in February as the Dow Jones Industrial Average exceeded 13,000 for the first time since May 2008 and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest in three years. The improving economy may have blunted the impact of rising gasoline prices. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded has increased 14 percent this year to $3.74 (3AGSREG) as of yesterday, according to AAA, the largest U.S. motoring group.

Chrysler Group’s car sales more than doubled to 40,024 from 17,745 a year earlier, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company said in a statement. Deliveries of the 200 more than quadrupled to 9,717, and 300 sedan sales climbed to 7,670, almost six times more than a year earlier.

Ford said it plans to increase second-quarter production in North America by 2.8 percent to 730,000 cars and trucks, according to the company’s statement. Chrysler in its statement forecast the industry sales pace may have accelerated to a 14.9 million rate in February, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat, has added more efficient powertrains and new or refreshed models such as the 200 to help the company better compete when gasoline prices rise.
Gas Prices

“Everybody who’s in the pickup truck business is concerned about rising oil prices; it’s not just a Chrysler issue,” Marchionne said in a Feb. 28 interview in Brussels. “Our expectation is that we’ll be able to weather even a rising oil situation.”

Chrysler sells six models that are rated 31 mpg or better in highway driving, Ralph Kisiel, a spokesman, said in an interview. The automaker didn’t have a single 2009 model year vehicle that achieved that rating, he said.

Pickups may constitute less than 11 percent of industrywide sales in February, down from more than 13 percent in December, Erich Merkle, Ford’s sales analyst, told reporters yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford has still increased the average sales price of its vehicles fleetwide by more than $1,000 from a year earlier, Merkle told reporters yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan.
Focus, F-150

Ford more than doubled deliveries of Focus compacts to 23,350 and increased F-Series sales by 26 percent to 47,273.

General Motors Co. (GM), which regained global sales leadership last year, may sell 4.8 percent fewer vehicles this month compared with a year earlier, the average of 10 analysts’ estimates. Analysts said the Detroit-based automaker pared incentives from a year ago, when it outspent the industry average by 45 percent, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey- based researcher Autodata.

Deliveries for Toyota Motor Corp. may have risen 8.2 percent, while Honda Motor Co.’s may have increased 4.5 percent, the average of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Honda reported a monthly sales increase for January that was its first since the Tokyo-based automaker’s inventory plunged following Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March.
Japan’s Tsunami

Japan’s tsunami limited Toyota (7203) City, Japan-based Toyota and Honda’s production and depleted their inventories. With supplies rebounding, industrywide sales accelerated in January to the best pace since the government’s “cash for clunkers” program in August 2009.

Volkswagen AG (VOW3), which is targeting U.S. sales growth of more than 10 percent this year, may increase combined sales of its Volkswagen and Audi brand vehicles by 33 percent in February, the average of three estimates. Volkswagen brand sales climbed 42 percent to 30,577, according to an e-mailed statement.

Affiliates Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) and Kia Motors Corp. (000270) may combine to sell 19 percent more vehicles than a year earlier, the average of five analysts’ estimates.


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