Curbside Newsstand/2019 US Auto Sales Report, Part 4: Ram Triumphant; Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Fiat…Not So Much – FCA Drops 1 Percent

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The FCA-PSA Group merger will present challenges for the new company. Chief among them is Alfa Romeo and Fiat’s tenuous position in the American market. Jeep might be in trouble too.

One brand that definitely isn’t an issue is Ram, as 2019 saw the brand grow quite a bit. And the Ram pickups are now the second best selling full-size models in America, beating the Silverado.

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Let’s start with the bad news first. Alfa Romeo dropped 23% and Fiat declined by 41%. Not good figures. That being said, FCA might not be terribly concerned about those brands, as the lost volume accounts for about 10,000 units. And a decent majority of those are from Fiat, meaning they’re probably not big profit makers. Keep the dealers who shelled out for standalone Alfa Romeo and Fiat stores in your thoughts and prayers.

Every nameplate sold by both brands experienced a minimum 22% decrease from 2018. The Spider (aka reskinned Miata) found 2,644 buyers last year. Don’t assume Mazda did terribly well with their two seater either: Sales topped out at about 7,700. Mazda will probably not drop the Miata, but I don’t see Fiat continuing to source their 124 from them. Anyway, Fiat sold about 6,400 examples of the 500 product line last year. That includes all three nameplates – the 500, 500L, and 500X. Yikes! Perhaps the most disappointing news is the Stelvio’s inability to find buyers. At 9,444 sales, it only beat out the Giulia by about 700 units. Once again, FCA probably isn’t upset over those numbers, because that platform is being modified for the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle that will no doubt make money for the company.

While we’re on the subject of Jeep, let’s talk about the Grand Cherokee. Wanna know why the brand isn’t in a hurry to introduce the next generation? Because sales were up 8%. At nearly ten years old, the Grand Cherokee’s still got it. Those 262,969 examples sold have to be huge profit makers for Jeep. When was the tooling paid for, five years ago? Probably.

Other Jeep models didn’t fare so well. Aside from the additional 40,047 pulled in by the Gladiator, every other nameplate experienced a decrease in volume. They’re still big sellers though. Jeep sold about 405,000 examples of the Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee in 2019. The Renegade and Compass share a platform with the Fiat 500X, and the Cherokee uses the Compact Wide platform, which is also used for the Chrysler Pacifica/Voyager. More FCA profit machines!

And the Wrangler, despite a decrease to 228,032 in total sales, is still doing well. The Jeep’s 2018 numbers are likely skewed by the heavy sales of the previous generation during that year, which were heavily incentivized. And the Gladiator undoubtedly stole some Wrangler sales. Let’s keep in mind that the Wrangler now outsells mid-size sedans like the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima, the latter example being the third most popular model in the segment. Strange days indeed.

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Chrysler and Dodge also suffered big losses, although the percentages include a bunch of zombie models from both brands, which skewed the results a bit. The Pacifica’s sales dropped 17% to 97,705. Dodge sold about 6,000 less Challengers last year for a total of 60,997. Journey sales declined by 21%, but that crossover – which according to scientists originated in the Mesozoic Era – still managed to net Dodge an additional 74,686 in sales last year. Like its sibling, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Dodge Durango is in no need of an immediate replacement. Its 67,599 sales figure represented a 3% increase from 2018. The Charger also performed well. It gained 21% percent more volume than in 2018, for a total of 96,935 sold.

Finally, the Caravan, despite a 19% decrease from 2018, still managed to find 122,648 customers last year. A majority of those sales are probably to fleets, but it still enables FCA to accurately claim that it was the best-selling minivan in the segment in 2019. Pretty good numbers for a van that entered production when Pangaea was Earth’s only continent.

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The Ram brand had an exceptional 2019. The Ram pickup lineup surged 18% to 633, 694 sold. That beats the Silverado, but GM can still claim they’re number two in the segment as combined Silverado/Sierra sales totaled about 802,000 last year. Paul’s favorite van, the Ram ProMaster, experienced a 21% increase in volume, which resulted in 56,409 examples finding a buyer in 2019. The ProMaster City, which is a competitor to vehicles like the Transit Connect, sold just under 13,000 examples last year, which was a 6% decrease.

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Make/ModelUnits Sold 2019
Jeep Patriot27
Chrysler 20048
Chrysler Town and Country5
Dodge Dart15
Dodge Avenger1
Dodge Viper5
Fiat 5003,267

To cap off FCA’s sales reports I thought it’d be fun to include all the zombie cars they sold in 2019. Overall, FCA probably made a lot of money last year, even if volume decreased a bit. Platform sharing, and the continued success of some older platforms played a big part in that.