The latest data collected by FGW indicates that SUVs and pickups accounted for 60% of FCA global sales in 2019. According to the information for more than 100 countries, the car maker increased its dependence on these vehicles following a volatile year.
From the top 10 global car makers, Fiat Chrysler recorded the highest SUV/pickups penetration in terms of sales. With 4.42 million units sold, FCA registered an 8.8% reduction from 2018. It was still the 8th largest OEM in the world, behind Honda with 5.17 million units, and ahead of PSA with 3.49 million units. This year, the merger between FCA and PSA will allow them to occupy the fourth position based on last year’s volume. They outsold GM with 7.91 million units against 7.72 million units for the American maker.
Pickups strong demand offsets SUV’s Drop
In contrast to the global trend, FCA sold fewer SUVs last year. Sales of these vehicles totalled 1.74 million units, down by 9%, whereas the whole segment posted a 2% increase compared to 2018. Therefore, FCA’s market share fell from 6.3% in 2018, to 5.6% last year. The inclusion of Jeep did not meet the company’s targets, despite accounting for 82% of the group’s SUV global sales in 2019.
Jeep is now falling behind the mainstream brands regarding their line-up and technology. What used to be the most important brand for FCA, is slowly losing its leadership position to Ram – the pickup brand of the group. The latest generation of Ram big trucks arrived in 2018 and since then it has gained a lot of traction in USA and Canada, becoming the second best-selling vehicle in those countries. The redesign and improved infotainment contributed significantly to the impressive result.
Jeep is now falling behind the mainstream brands regarding their line-up and technology. What used to be the most important brand for FCA, is slowly losing its leadership position to Ram – the pickup brand of the group.
Jeep has decided against presenting key models and has been forced to go ahead without new models. The best example of this can be seen in the case of the Grand Cherokee, which went on sale in summer 2010 with a restyling in 2015. This super-seller is now almost 10 years old. In addition to this, the brand is still not operating in the mid-size 7-seater E-SUVs (e.g. Volkswagen Atlas, Chevrolet Traverse) and has not launched a luxury SUV to rival the Range Rover or Cadillac Escalade meaning they will undoubtedly struggle to compete with competitors in North America, the largest market for such models.
In 2019, Ram was able to sell almost 850,000 units, up by 17% while Jeep posted a decline of 6% to 1.48 million units. Although it is the second highest annual sales volume in the brand’s history, it is quite far from the targets set for 2018 and the following years. The decline last year put it back two positions by brand in the SUV ranking – from fourth to sixth position.
FCA cars continued to lose traction
The A, B, C, D, E and F segments made up 23% of the group global sales in 2019. This is 1.03 million units, down by almost 8%. The drop of the sedan line-up in North America, and the lack of interest for Fiat on the European B segment, contributed to the negative result. In addition to this, 2019 saw very poor sales of premium cars in the segment, with both Alfa Romeo and Maserati struggling to compete.
This situation has led to FCA strongly relying on city-cars. Last year, these cars represented 45% of the group car sales and 10% of overall volume (all segments included). The Fiat brand is known for its city-cars in Europe, and in Brazil they accounted for 15% of FCA sales. The remaining problem is that most of the city-cars are slow profit drivers.
Profitability coming exclusively from USA
The challenge ahead is to keep profits with sales shrinking at the premium brands and stalling sales at Jeep. Ram is due to become the only driver of profits in the short term but it is brand with a high dependence on one market (USA/Canada counted for 95% of its global sales in 2019). Therefore, the situation is a bit complex now considering the negative effect that Covid-19 outbreak is already having in the industry.
More insights about 2019 results by brands and models to follow in the coming days.
Source: FGW database, Manufacturers, Goodcarbadcar, Autonews, AEB, Bestsellingcarsblog, Focus2Move, Fenabrave, Autoblog, OICA