July/12, the lowest growth for Chrysler so far

July was a good month for Chrysler in USA. But not as good as before. For the first time of this year the sales of the group grew below 20% and its market share was below 11%. Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Fiat sold 126.089 cars, up 12.6%, which allowed them to have a market share of 10.9%. The growth was less than 20% of June and even worse than 44% of January. However the growth was better than total market performance, 8.9%. Only Jeep grew up less than that number, 7.4%, while Chrysler was again the best brand up a massive 34.8% thanks to the great performance of Chrysler 200 and 300, both with enormous success in some states of the country. July was also a regular month for the Fiat 500, which was up ‘only’ 22%. Year-to-date numbers indicate that the whole group is doing very well. All brands sales are up 2 times what the whole market has grown, 27.7% against 14%. It means they have been able to reach a market share above 11%, just like it was when the financial crisis began 3 years ago. Its growth is much more than all main competitors: GM 3%, Ford 5%, and the same of Toyota, still in third place with total sales growth of 28%. By models, all of them had a good performance, far away from total market’s growth. And it seems the Fiat 500 will reach the initial goal settled by Mr. Marchionne, who said they could sell 50.000 units per year just in North America, but then, after some bad months, he said he was wrong with that number, to optimistic. If that trend continues, the small Fiat will sell more than 42.000 units in USA and more than 10.000 in Canada. The Abarth version has made a great job.

During July only Jeep had a lower sales growth than total market. Source: http://www.carsitaly.net

Source: http://www.carsitaly.net

 

Click here to see USA August 2012 Results

Fiat-Chrysler 2012 First half results analysis

After some days waiting for official data now is possible to have a close analysis to Fiat-Chrysler sales figures in the main markets and most important models. The overall result could be considered more or less good though the troubled European market may change that at the end of the year. The whole group has sold around 1.8 million cars* in the first six months of 2012, up 5.7%, which is not considered bad in current conditions, especially taking into account that Italy counts for 13% of total sales and is a market that dropped 20%. It all means that the small growth in units sold is due to the great success most of Chrysler Group models are having in the US and Canada. Brazil would not be included in the list of good results as Fiat brand slow down its growth following the total market (-0.3%). The analysis by models shows two different worlds: Europe with terrible results for old products, and USA for good results for most of all the models, no matter the fact they are mostly old models.

ITALY

Italy is Fiat’s main problem nowadays. The dependence of the group is evident and therefore total sales and practically all models are having very bad results. What used to be Fiat’s best selling car now occupies a second place and is severely affecting the whole company. The Punto, which counts for almost 23% of the group sales and drops 32%, much more than the market, and than its rivals. The ‘restyling’ gotten at the beginning of the year has not had any effect because consumers of B-Segment seem to prefer the new generation of Toyota Yaris (a fall of just 5.5%) or the new Peugeot 208 (4200 units). Then comes the Fiat 500 that falls even more due perhaps to the fact that is now facing its 5th year on the market without any significant change (see analysis of Fiat 500-Panda vs. VW Up! for June 2012). These two models count for 76% of main models fall. But in terms of percentage fall, the winner is the C-Compact Bravo with a spectacular fall of 47%, or 6.063 units less. This car is not old at all but the positioning given by the brand has not been the best allowing the VW Golf to keep its pole position among C-Segment cars. Nevertheless the german compact begins to suffer the consequences of its old age which can be seen by the good result gotten by the Giulietta (the best selling compact in April, May and June), which ‘only’ falls 18%, but is an alarm sign to Alfa as it is the only competitive product and is just 2 years old. Other really bad performers are Alfa MiTo, which just sold 16% more than Mini and 20% more than Audi A1, and Lancia Delta, down 36%. In a market that falled 20%, the Panda, Ypsilon and Freemont did quite well. The new generation Panda helped this popular model to maintain its sales figures and allowed it to become the country’s best selling car by far. Same situation for the Ypsilon, very popular in Turin. Fiat as a brand falled as much as the market, while Lancia did better only falling 11% and Alfa Romeo dropped 31%.

Total sales of B segment main models in Italy. The latest launches had the best performance, while those with more years in the market dropped their sales. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net

Although Giulietta’s sales have fallen in Italy during the first half, it was Italy’s best selling compact car (C-Segment) in May and June. Very bad results for the Fiat Bravo. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net and http://www.unrae.it

Thanks to new Panda, Ypsilon and somehow the Giulietta and Freemont, Fiat Group has been able to rise its market share in Italy. The evolution of each model is compared to the performance of each segment according to UNRAE. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net and http://www.unrae.it

Fiat Group’s model composition in Italy during the first half of 2012. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net and http://www.unrae.it

USA

As usual, American sales figures are just amazing. The total market has returned to pre crisis numbers but Chrysler Group is doing much better, eventhough the new entry model, Dodge Dart, is available from late June. The Ram grew 24%, much more than its rivals, thanks to the good results got by the luxury versions. If rumors are confirmed, a diesel version would have a positive impact for the rest of the year. But in terms of the largest impact on the total growth on sales, the Chrysler 200 is certainly the main character, because it represented 16% of total growth, or 37.000 more cars. The deep facelift that received the Chrysler Sebring has made consumers to come back to Chrysler in the C-Segment. Besides the good Ad campaign regarding its American origin has given it more awareness among consumers. With less sales figures but equal interesting results, the Chrysler 300 took off, up an amazing 200% (anyway it is still far away from its rivals, most of them already renewed). As most of models had great performances (thanks to better economic situation), only those having bad results deserved a close analysis: the old couple Compass/Patriot did not well during the period. The Compass falled 1%, while the Patriot grew 12%, below total market. It is clear that these models are old enough and competition gets really hard with all new models, but it is weird that the Compass and not the Patriot falled when the only the first one had an interesting restyling. Another fact to consider is that minivans don’t count in Chrysler’s sales as much as they did one year ago, and now Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler occupied the second and third place of best selling Chrysler models. The group, included Fiat sales numbers, grew up two times more than total markets allowing it to increase its market share up to 11.5%. By brands only Dodge/Ram had stable growth, while Chrysler had an amazing growth of 75%, Jeep up 28% and the Fiat 500, up 319% to 20.706 cars, more than the whole year 2011.

The Fiat 500 had the best performance compared to H1 2011. Anyway most models did better than the whole market. It is weird what happened to Dodge Durango which has been on sale for less than 2 years, shares platform and components with the successful Jeep Grand Cherokee. Source: http://www.goodcarbadcar.net

The figure shows the total units sold during the first half and then the change in terms of percentage and units. After that there is the contribution of each model to total growth in terms of units. Chrysler models are the ones which contributed the most for the total growth. Source: http://www.goodcarbadcar.net

EUROPE

Outside Italy the situation is really bad. Without taking into account UK and Austria figures (only Czech Rep., Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), the main models of the group sold 115.275 units, down 17.5%, a bit less than what happened in Italy. Of course not all the markets had the same performance as the largest ones had the deepest fall: France down 25%, and Germany down 13%, compared to a total fall in France of 14% while Germany grew 0.7% (part of that growth due to self-sales). But the top 9 models had the worst fall in Greece, a market that dropped 41% in the first half. Spain, other troubled market, surprisingly was good for these models, which grew up 4%, or 500 more units. Once again the Fiat Bravo got the worst figures falling in all markets as a response to Fiat’s decision of reducing the range and options. Germany has been the largest market for the Punto after Italy, but this year the model has fallen 48% over there, even more than the fall seen in Greece, but less than the horrible result in Spain and the Netherlands. Certainly the model is not anymore popular. The Panda had good and bad results but in general the car continues to be popular, though its total result was severely affected by the deep fall in France, where the market is going bad. As in Italy Lancia goes better thanks to the Ypsilon, which had excellent numbers in terms of growth but still low numbers in terms of units delivered. One year ago the old model barely sold one thousand units but with the arrival of the new 5 door generation the Lancia sold 4 times more, and is especially popular in Greece where it has become one of top 20. Alfa Romeo does not do good at all with its 2 models falling in the ranking, especially the MiTo, which never had good results. In terms of the dependence of the models on the Italian market the situation changes a lot according to the car. Without any doubt the Fiat 500 is the most international model of the group as only 34% of its sales are done in Italy. Surprisingly the Alfa MiTo is the next model to have less sales share in Italy, as 52% of them are done outside Italy. It is certainly interesting to see the result of the MiTo taking into account that the Giulietta is more popular. The Lancias continue to be popular only in Italy and it seems the new generation Ypsilon will depend on Italian market no matter the fact is built in Poland.

This figure shows the Export ratio of Fiat Group’s main models in Europe. The Fiat 500 is the one less dependant on Italian market thanks to great sales in the UK, France and Germany. On the other hand there is the Lancia Ypsilon, whose new generation has not been able to change its strong dependance on Italy. Europe includes: CZ, DK, F, D, GR, IR, NL, PL, SK, SL, E, S, Switzerland and the UK. Source: www.bestsellingcarsblog.net

Sales growth of each model in each market for the first half of 2012. Good results for the Ypsilon, Freemont and 500. To bad for the Punto, Bravo and MiTo. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net

One year ago the Punto was Fiat’s best selling car outside Italy (28% of total sales). In 2012 H1 the fall of its sales allowed the Panda, 500 and Ypsilon to have better share among Fiat models. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net

BRAZIL

In Brazil the analysis gets larger as more models are really popular over there. The market is stable with a tiny fall of 0.3% and is expected more sales in the second half thanks to some incentives given by the government. In this context Fiat continues to be the leader and keeps its market share above 22% thanks to one single model, the new Palio. Its registrations have risen 63% and is now the third bestselling car of that country, but it is still far behind from the king of the market, the VW Gol. Although year-to-date numbers are still low, the arrival of the new Siena, aka Grand Siena, has made of this model another great performer and the results will be seen at the end of the year. The Uno, in its second year, falls 11% partly because of the arrival of the new Palio, which could be catching some of its sales (Palio is B-Segment and Uno is A-Segment, but they are close in size and prices), and also because of the success the facelifted VW Fox is having (up 19%), also from A-Segment. But the worse comes from C-Segment: the Linea falls 36% and it seems it will continue like that until a deep facelift arrives. The Bravo stopped its fall in the last month thanks to new engines and features. Good for the Punto (-2%) which got its first deep facelift in July/12, and the Freemont, with 1 thousand units sold per month, not bad considering its high price. The small 500 is doing also good allowing the Toluca plant to keep working. For the second semester things will get hard for Fiat with the arrival of the facelift of VW Gol/Voyage and the all new Hyundai HB20, exclusively designed for Brazilian market.

The new Fiat Palio has had a great start. The new Siena will also change total year’s result. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net

CANADA & ARGENTINA

The situation in Canada is not as spectacular as in USA. Chrysler group (included Fiat 500 figures), had the same growth of total market, but it is much more than its competitors from Ford and GM. Actually the group has the second place and sells more than GM, but is now facing the threat of a strong Toyota in fourth place and growing much more. Fiat sold 4.920 cars, up 92% and it seems the small 500 has reached its maximum. The Ram (up 16%) and Grand Caravan (down 6%) are among top 5 best selling cars of that country. In Argentina where total market continues its instability, Fiat is doing good with the new Siena, up 10%, the Uno, up 11%, and the Strada, up a massive 74%, or 2105 units more. Bad for the Palio (the new generation just began local production some weeks ago), the Punto (the restyling will arrive by the end of the year). The small 500 sold almost 2.000 units.

The Fiat 500 sells more than many other Chrysler models. Source: http://www.bestsellingcarsblog.net

*Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.

Source: www.carsitaly.net, www.bestsellingcarsblog.net, http://www.goodcarbadcar.net

More production of successful Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude version. Photo by netcarshow.com

Chrysler Group has announced they will add more work force to their Toledo Assembly plant to increase production of Jeep Wrangler. Chrysler wants to maintain the enormous success of this Jeep but is struggling to rise production as Toledo plant is the only one that produces it in the entire world. Currently there are 500 people working there, but they are now expanding the capacity and 1100 more workers will be hired by 2013. The Wrangler and Grand Cherokee are Jeep’s chosen products to make Jeep a global brand, according to Marchionne. Last year the old style Jeep sold more than 150.000 world wide from which 122.460 were delivered in the US market, up 30%. This year the success continues as it has sold 56.410 units in the first 5 months of the year, up 35%, making of it the 5th best selling car of the group in America, after the Ram, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Caravan. Since the 5 door version (called Unlimited) was introduced in 2007 sales have been always rising and now that American car market seems to be recovering, it’s time to gain more market share and go abroad.

Source: Good Car Bad Car

Chrysler, among best scored car brands in USA

Chrysler brand occupied an important place among best scoring brands of 2012 T0tal Car Score’s list. Total Car Score is a website that aims to classify and compare cars with scores given by important car analysts. They rank cars according to an aggregate score based on the most trusted automotive authorities available. In their latest report, among premium and volume brands together, Chrysler passed from 18th place last year to 8th place in 2012 among the best qualified car makers. It had the second best growth after Kia, and is just few points after VW. In the report ther were only analyzed those car brands with more than 4 models available all over the States (not Fiat). Chrysler’s result can be an important indicator of how Americans are evaluating their cars, and how good all its products are being received by professional press and media. But the most important, it shows the new trend among Americans, who begin to believe again in the quality and final product of a company  like Chrysler, which was in bankruptcy 3 years ago.

Total Car Score, Top 10 Best Car Brands for 2012. Chrysler is above BMW and had the second best growth after Kia. Source: Total Car Score

 

New versions for Ram, 500, Bravo, Linea and Giulietta

Ram 1500 Laramie Limited. Photo by netcarshow.com

The ending week brings a lot of news related to the coming versions of Ram pickup, Fiat 500 and Bravo, and the first restyling of Fiat Linea. The offer of the bick truck from Ram will add a luxury version called Laramie Limited, featured with heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, to replace the Laramie Longhorn version. It will be Ram’s most expensive pickup and is part of the strategy of the brand to cover a the fast growing segment of luxury trucks. Chrysler has seen an opportunity among those clients that are not cowboys but want a big truck to use in the city.  In fact this kind of pickups are allowing Ram to rise the average price of its products. Last year, 13% of light -duty Ram pickups were sold for at least $40.000 (+9% compared to 2010), and among heavy-duty one, those pickups with prices above $50.000 represented 29% of total sales (+22%). In other words a new subsegment has born and Ram is ready to cover it. For the coming months, though, they should develop an exclusive model (not only an update of current model) in order to address more directly this kind of client. Last year, Ram sold around 315.000 units, 78% of them in the US, up 23% on 2010 figures,  double of growth that had its eternal rivals, Ford F-150 (+11%) and Chevrolet Silverado (+12%).

Fiat 500 Street MY 2013

Meanwhile in Italy Fiat has introduced the 500 Model Year 2013. Available in both body types, 3 door hatchback and cabrio, the car is now offered with 6 new colours and 2 new versions. The MY 2013 introduces the blue “Dipinto di blu”, the purple “Dolce”, gray “Colosseo”, red “Diva”, yellow “Sole” and Beige “Cappuccino”. They will be also available with 2 more interior options: Cioccolato/Avorio (Chocolate/Ivory) and Gray/Black. Lounge version is now possible to have with 14 axes rim of 15″. In terms of accessories, there are 2 more versions: the Street (Black Matt color, 16″ rims, spoiler, new seats, crome gearbox) starting at €13.750 for the 1.2. The other version is called Color Therapy, that according to Fiat, it develops the pop and coloured soul of the 500 through colours that had made this model so famous. MY 2013 does not mean any change in design, as Fiat is waiting for the first real facelift in the coming months in order to enhance in a better way the new rivals.

Fiat Bravo Sporting for Brazilian market

After some weeks of the presentation of Fiat Bravo MY 2013 for Brazilian market, they have showed the Sporting version. From next week Brazilians will be able to buy the Bravo with 17″ rims with new sporty touch outside and inside. It adds a red frame in the grill, a spoiler and a suspension 25mm lower than its ‘common’ brothers. Sky Dome roof is standard. Will be available with both gearbox, manual or Dualogic starting at R$58.140 (€23.000). Is then more expensive than Essence version R$53.140 (€21.000) and cheaper than Absolute (€24.600) and T-Jet versions (€26.200). The engine is 1.8 E-torQ and is only available with 4 different colors: yellow, white, red and green. Fiat , which is Brazil’s best selling carmaker, is trying to recover its market share in C-segment due to the fall of sales of its Bravo and Linea. During the first 5 months of 2012 they have sold 3.478 Bravos and 3.419 Lineas, far away from the leader of the segment, Toyota Corolla with 20.681 units sold so far.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sportiva

Alfa Romeo wants to keep the good results of its C-segment Giulietta. In April and May it was Italy’s best selling car in its segment surpassing VW Golf. After the arrival of entry level version of 1.4 T with 105 HP, now is turn for a more sporty version. The Supersportiva will arrive soon offering an interesting sporty package with 1.4 MultiAir 170 HP , 2.0 JTDM 140 HP or 2.0 JTDM 170 HP. It comes with 18″ rims (the same of QV version) with Brembo brakes, darken stop lights, matt external mirrors; sporty pedals, leather seats with red stitching, among others. A good way to keep shaking the market in a moment when all segment sales are droping. This year is expected to be really hard for Alfa Romeo’s sales figures as they just count on 2 models and Giulietta one is now having problems outside Europe with the arrival of new competitors. In Italy this car should take the comand of C-Segment sales, thanks to a wider range of versions and GPL options, now more appreciated by Italians. YTD sales figures indicate the Giulietta is just 2.951 units behind the Golf, but it seems this gap will reduce as the Giulietta was in May, for second month in a row, the best selling compact in Italy.

Fiat Linea 2013

Finally from Turkey arrives the last news. The Linea, Turkey’s  best selling car, has received its first facelift since it was introduced in 2007. The make up affects the outside and inside design and allows it to look much better and elegant. Now it comes with a rear spoiler and inside there is a new design for the steering wheel and redesigned instrument panel, and a new dashboard. Engines don’t change: 1.4 Fire with 77HP, 1.3 MultiJet 95 HP and 1.6 MultiJet 105 HP. Inside the whole dashboard and panel were changed and took from the Punto Evo but adding better looking materials. Fiat produces the Linea along with local producer, Tofas, and this year it has become country’s best selling cars beating its rivals from Renault, the Thalia and Fluence. Jan-Apr sales figures indicate that 8.710 units of this sedan (C-segment in Turkey) were delivered, up 13% in a whole market that drops 19%. Eventhough the good result, it is practically the unique successful model of the company as the Albea sedan (B-segment) is getting really old and its sales falling dramatically. Turkey is an important market that is expected to grow to interesting levels in the next years.

Fiat Linea interior

Source: Automotive News, FGA, Auto Esporte

Why so good in America and so bad in Italy? Opinion

Illustration by Automobile Magazine

On friday Fiat SpA released the Group’s results for May 2012 in Italy and USA. Unsurprisingly sales figures confirmed the recent trend: America’s rise up and Italian deep crisis. Those are frequent results since last year when the new Fiat-Chrysler Group began to see a shift in car registration growth from its native Italy to its new native America. 3 years ago, when Marchionne signed the deal with Obama’s government, was Fiat saving Chrysler from bankruptcy. Now is not that Chrysler is saving Fiat from disaster, but because of several facts to be explained in this article, Chrysler Group is now leading the match to make of the Group one of ‘big six’ of the world, while Fiat Group deals with big problems in Europe and tries to maintain its success in Brazil. To try to explain the reasons of this situation with only one fact would be unsuitable. Behind the uprising of Chrysler and the crisis of Fiat, there is a connected net of things that can explain why Chrysler, without any all-new model is having continuos sales growth while Fiat, with some new models, is looking deseperate for solutions to not to sink.

First of all there is the Economic crisis reason. The financial problems that took place in USA in late 2008 affected first American economy and then European one. But while America is more or less getting over it Europe add the debt crisis of some of its EU members like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Althouhg developed countries are all facing the new scenario in which emerging markets are catching investment flows, the situation of America is much better than Europe’s. The worst has already passed in the US, but not in Europe where is expected a full year 2012 and 2013 with lot of difficulties in terms of unemployment, demand and social destabilization. Italy is part of both, the problem and the solution. Its debt problems are making Italian authorities to rise taxes, and therefore restrict consumption. And with no good perspectives in the short term, here comes the second reason of the gap between F-C sales in USA and Italy. Italians are pesimistic about their future, about getting a job and go ahead. Americans are still having problems but their mood is different as they see the light at the end of the tunnel. And mood is a factor that explains perfectly the situation. When people don’t believe in better things to come they don’t care about the future and rather think of their present as a survival exercise. In the other hand, when some of main economic indicators show that the worst of the crisis has just passed, then people start to change their habits and be more positive about coming days. The mood certainly affects car industry, as a car is a product that costs, and is part of people’s main assets.

Auburn Hills now shines. Photo by http://news.ottawadodgechryslerjeep.com

Actually the mood among citizens (or buyers) can be seen in other fields. If one watches any interview or statement of Sergio Marchionne, it will be evident the change of mood when he talks about Chrysler and America and when he mentions Fiat and Italy. His face changes. Yes, Fiat Italy is just giving him problems, but the good mood he projects when he is in Auburn Hills should be the same or better when he is in Mirafiori. People notice it and coming from him, has an impact on the organization, composed by powerful labor unions that every day communicate Italians their dissatisfaction with corporate decisions. It is not the intention to evaluate who is right in their demands, but this tense situation between board of directors and labor unions is generating a bad image of Fiat among Italian buyers. And that’s the other reason that can explain the gap between Chrysler’s sales in USA and Fiat’s in Italy. All car makers are having sales drops in Italy, but Fiat also worries because of the economic impact of its latest corporate decisions. Italians don’t like the idea of shifting production abroad (Poland, Serbia, USA, Mexico and now China), and they blame Fiat of being part of the unemployment problem there is now in Italy. If it is true or not, the reality is that ‘Fabbrica Italia’ plan has not been enough to project the idea that Fiat works for Italy. And that is probably the main problem now: Italians are tired of the status quo that has not brought the solution for their problems, and Fiat is part of the status quo.

Of course it is also a matter of offer. Although the new Panda was introduced in late 2011, and new Ypsilon or the rebadged Fiat Freemont are doing a good work since their launch in Geneva 2011, it has not been enough to change the trend. Fiat has decided to postpone the launch of new models waiting for better economic scenario arguing that most of European car makers are loosing money with their latest products. Fiat may not be loosing money but they are certainly loosing market share. The Punto, which was among Europe’s best selling cars, is now passing through its 7th year of lifecycle with remarkable sales drop Italy included, and there is no replacement model until 2014. Fiat Group’s model range in Italy is dramatically reducing: Fiat just offers 3 different small cars, Alfa has just 2 models at all, and Lancia survives thanks to its Ypsilon, that by the way is only successful in Italy. In this context, selling cars become a hard job. Fiat can not depend on economic cycles to develop its models. The models must be able to generate cash and support the production eventhough there is a big economic crisis, so a decision like the postponement of next Punto is going to increase the sales drop in a market that loves A and B-segment cars.

FIOM Labor Union protests. Photo by selvicenza.blogspot.it/

Finally, another fact that is playing against Italian Fiat’s sales is the role of government. Italian authorities continue to atack car industry through new taxes (super bollo, etc.) and making more expensive the price of gas. It has a direct impact on the demand in a moment in which people are struggling to keep their jobs and go on. The coming incentives for low emission and electric cars may be a good solution, but at the end an industry that depends on economic help is a none feasible industry. The role of government should be of generating good conditions for the whole industry and not creating new obstacles or distorting it with artificial and unsustainable incentives. Fiat made a good move with the gas promotion announced recently. All of these factor explain the increasing gap between the results in both sides of the Atlantic. What is next is to learn from what’s happening in America and anticipate it in Italy, but quickly, really quickly.

Italy’s figures include Fiat, Alfa and Lancia numbers only. Source: carsitaly.net, Chrysler Communications and Quattroruote.it

May 2012, another great month for Fiat-Chrysler sales in USA

Thanks to Chrysler Communications Facebook site, global results of Chrysler Group in the US have been released. The good momentum continues during the fith month of 2012. The whole group (included Fiat brand) had sales growth of 30% over May 2011, selling a total of 150.041 cars, or 34.678 more cars than the ones delivered one year ago. Are really good numbers compared with total market growth and competitors performance. The main source tells that 7 models got more than 10.000 units sold volume, lead again by Ram Pickup, up 29%. By brands Dodge delivered 45.793 units (+14%), closely followed by Jeep with 44.198 (+24%), Chrysler up a massive 81% with 29.674, Ram with 26.373 (+23%). Finally Fiat had another record sales with its 500 delivering 4.003 units, up 128%. More analysis in the next days.

America: more 500, future SRT Dart/Jeep, and a RAM diesel?

RAM 1500. Is it coming a diesel version? Photo by netcarshow.com

Some news are coming from America. The latest one is related to Fiat and its successful 500. After the good start of Abarth version with 160 hp, Fiat presents the 500 T version. They saw the lack of a mid size engine between the regular 500 with 105 hp and the Abarth one. That’s why the 500 T with 135 hp will become the option for those wanting more performance than ‘just’ 105 hp but can’t afford $22.000 dollars that costs the Abarth. The T version is expected to keep increasing sales as the car will cost $19.000 dollars $15.200 €, and offers a very nice engine with good especifications inside, though the car will not have Abarth logo. With this version, Fiat 500 family in America is now composed by the 500 Pop starting at $15.500 dollars ($12.350 €), the 500 Lounge, 500 Sport, 500C Pop, 500C Lounge, the 500 Abarth and finally the 500 T. Meanwhile the Electric version of the small car was confirmed to be on sale next year.

American Fiat 500 family. Though the Abarth version is the bestselling one, it’s just offers one body type

Another sporty to arrive, not yet though, is the Dodge Dart SRT version. According to Sergio Marchionne, what is only missing to complete the project is “how big is going to be the engine that will move the Dart to create the SRT version”. It means they are really considering a super powered version of the mid size sedan and maybe use a 4 cylinders turbo version with even more than the 235 hp that moves the Alfa Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. But as people from Autoblog Spain say, the SRT Dart could be moved by 300 hp and 2.0 MultiAir engine. The problem is that there is no 4 cylinder engine turbo available at the moment.

Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute, showed in Chicago Auto Show 2012. Photo by autofan.mx/tag/dodge/

On the other hand future plans of Chrysler group include the elimination of double products. It means the car company does not want to offer anymore two brand options for the same model. That is why they will remove from Chrysler’s range, the Town & Country which is the same car of Dodge Gran Caravan. Instead they will project a lighter minivan to be shared with Lancia and leave the popular Dodge alone. The same destiny for the Jeep Compass as it is practically the same Jeep Patriot. The C-SUV-segment from Jeep will be removed from dealers by the year 2014 to be replaced by a global compact SUV that might share platform with other products of Fiat-Chrysler Group, such as the next generation of Fiat Bravo, which could be replaced by a Cross Over. Regarding this news, it is weird Chrysler wants to get rid of the Town & Country as it was its best seller in 2011 with more than 102.000 units. The MPV is an excellent product that could be even more differenciated from the Dodge version with more luxury interiors. A smaller successor could be also an interesting thing but taking into account that Americans prefer big version of these kind of cars. In the case of the Compass, it has not been certainly a big success and that’s why they should work on a global compact Cross Over to fit expectations of American and European clients and to become a product to expand into other markets.

A render of a possible future compact Jeep. Illustration by inautonews.com

Finally, based on a spy photo, people from Automotive News comment the possible arrival of RAM pickup with diesel engine. They suggest the black speckled stain seen just above the exhaust (a common sign of Diesel engines) could be the proof that Dodge is working on a RAM diesel. Good news that should be analyzed carefully as Americans are not really used to this kind of engines and big trucks had been always associated with big petrol engines. Although diesel cars have become less unpopular in the last months, their market share is still low. In 2011 only 101.624 cars out of 12.7 million of total passenger cars sold in America, had the diesel technique, and none of them was a pickup.