Chrysler keeps sales streak alive with 1.7% August gain – Detroit Free Press
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Tuesday its U.S. sales increased 1.7% in August even as the overall industry is expected to report a sales decline of about 2.5% — mostly because of a quirk in the calendar.
Fiat Chrysler’s sales increase kept its impressive year-over-year sales increase streak alive as the automaker reported its 65th consecutive increase in the U.S.
“In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealer’s competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us to our 65th-consecutive month of year-over year sales increases,” Reid Bigland, the automaker’s head of U.S. sales, said in a statement.
Going into the final weekend of the month there was speculation that Fiat Chrysler would fall short of recording a sales increase.
The automaker kept its streak alive by selling more Ram pickups and Jeep SUVs. By brand, sales were up 18% for Jeep, 6% for Ram and 1% for Fiat. Sales fell 14% for Chrysler and 15% for Dodge.
All other automakers will also report August auto sales today. Industry sales are expected to drop about 2.5%, according to the average of four forecasts, mostly because of a difficult comparison with last August when Labor Day weekend began during the final weekend of the month. This year, the entire holiday weekend will fall in September.
In fact, auto analysts say the pace of U.S. automotive sales remains strong despite a tumultuous stock market which can often scare consumers.
“Sales momentum in August has been strong despite recent stock market fluctuations,” Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com, said in a recent report. “The fact that we will likely see a year-over-year decline in sales isn’t a troubling sign because last August was a monster month that included Labor Day weekend.”
Going into the final days of the month Edmunds.com said the industry was on track to sell more than 1.52 million new cars and trucks compared with 1.58 million last year. That translates into an annual pace, or seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 17.2 million. Just a year or two ago any pace over 16 million was considered extremely strong.
Kelley Blue Book is forecasting a 4% decrease for the industry with Toyota and Honda posting declines of about 10% and 8%, respectively. Those two manufacturers are more reliant on small and midsize passenger car sales, which continue to weaken while sales of full-size pickups, SUVs and crossovers continue to grow.
GM also could post a drop of about 5%. Ford sales could be flat, while Fiat Chrysler could see its streak of 64 months of sales increases end, according to the Kelley estimates.
Another research and car-shopping firm, TrueCar, is slightly more optimistic, forecasting a 2.9% decrease in the number of vehicles sold, but a modest 0.9% increase in the daily selling rate because this year August had one less selling day than last year.
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