Seven Fiat Chrysler Automobiles vehicles set records in the month of April, including the Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass, each posting their best monthly sales ever.
In addition, the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Patriot, Ram pickup truck, Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City each recorded their best April sales ever. On the brand side, the Jeep brand continues to set records with its best April sales ever.
“Consumer preference for SUVs and pickup trucks continued unabated in April and helped to propel us to our strongest April sales in 11 years,” said Reid Bigland, senior vice president, sales, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, North America, in a release. “Both our Jeep and Ram Truck brands recorded strong year-over-year sales gains last month.”
FCA posted its best sales since 2005. The Jeep and Ram Truck brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in April compared with the same month a year ago. The Jeep brand’s 17% increase was the largest sales gain of any FCA US brand during the month. However, FCA car sales fell 8% for the month, including a 60% tumble for the Chrysler 200 midsize vehicle.
“The SUV and truck segments continue to drive growth, which means Jeep and Ram are ideally positioned for today's market,” says Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “At some point we may see a shift away from utilities and trucks, but until that happens FCA can leverage consumer demand for these vehicles while closing in on six years of continuous volume growth.”
Despite predictions of a new-car sales plateau, April showed continued signs of growth across several major automakers. Honda and Nissan reported best-ever April sales. Ford posted record SUV sales, although its car sales fell 12%. Toyota broke a record for SUV and truck sales. Only General Motors and Volkswagen saw sales declines with GM blaming a 3.5% drop on its cutting low-profit sales to rental car companies.
“GM's focus on retail sales and its disciplined stance on cutting rental deliveries, even at the cost of overall sales, is in stark contrast to the GM of just a few years ago,” Brauer says. “This approach will generate greater profit and improved residual values, two key factors for long-term health.”
Incentives are starting to creep up, particularly on the car side, but a robust consumer appetite for trucks and SUVs remains in place, he says.
"Barring unforeseen economic disruptions, 2016 could be another year of record auto sales," Brauer says.