Cold weather depresses January auto sales

2013 Ford Ranger

The weather has been bone chilling all across the country so far in 2014, and many automakers are blaming weaker than expected auto sales on the chilly temperatures.

Four of the top five U.S. auto sellers on Monday blamed extreme winter weather for poorer-than-expected sales in January, as analysts and executives predicted a rebound in February and March.

U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co as well as Japan’s Toyota Motor Sales USA and American Honda Motor Co saw auto sales plummet in January, missing analysts’ estimates for the month.

Sales results were mixed for other companies and brands, with Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Nissan North America reporting increases and topping forecasts.

Total industry sales in January, as compiled by Reuters from the manufacturers, fell 3.1 percent to 1,011,188.

Tye folks at Chrysler took the opportunity to crow a bit that the weather only affected their competitors, but having spent some time in Ohio in January, I’m not suprised by these disappointing results. Let’s see what happens in February and March.

Auto bailout is front and center in presidential campaign

President Obama’s campaign is running this ad in Michigan and Ohio in response to discredited Mitt Romney arguments about Chrysler and Jeep moving jobs to China.

Chrysler sales still on fire

Times are good for Chrysler, which provides some good economic news for the administration on a day that the lame job numbers came out.

Chrysler sales jumped 30% in May, which extend an incredible steak of 12 consecutive months where the company has exceed 20& year-over-year sales growth. This is excellent news for the company and for anyone who defended the auto bailout.

And things might get even better for Chrysler soon:

And it comes as Chrysler prepares later this month to roll out its key new car introduction for the year, the Fiat-based Dodge Dart, above, that it aims to get the company back into the small-car game. Dart is an enlarged, Americanized version of Fiat’s sporty Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

All the company’s brands — Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat — posted year-over-year gains in May. Fiat was up most, 128% to a record month as the tiny 500 finally gains some traction.

But the Chrysler brand was heroic — up 81%, as the 200 sedan zoomed 87% and the big 300 rocketed 140% for its best May since 2007.

If the Dart is a hit, then Sergio Marchionne and his team can really celebrate.

Check out the entire article for news on the other automakers.

Chrysler is back and in a big way!

Make no mistake about it my friends as Chrysler are back in the black in a big way! Give Sergio and his team credit for bringing Chrysler back from the brink with still plenty of new product on the way to continue to drive this turnaround story.

DETROIT — Chrysler Group said its first-quarter net income quadrupled on surging sales as the automaker set a profit target of $1.5 billion for the year.

Chrysler earned $473 million in the January-March period, up from $116 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 25 percent to $16.4 billion as U.S. vehicle sales increased 39 percent, the company said in a statement today.

“It’s fair to say that Chrysler is firing on all cylinders,” Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said. “It’s been a great quarter, and I think that the indications for the remainder of the year are absolutely positive.”

The 2012 target of $1.5 billion in net income would far outpace the $183 million earned last year as Chrysler posted its first annual profit since its 2009 bankruptcy.

Read the full article.

Is a new Barracuda for real?

It appears Chrysler is toying with the idea of building a brand new Barracuda and folks are more than excited to learn more. The Challenger is a beast so where does the supposed Barracuda fall in line with the automaker?

The Dodge Challenger made a comeback, so what’s next for Chrysler Group in the retro muscle-car wars?

How about a new Barracuda, sans the Plymouth name?

Chrysler Group is rumored to be developing a 21st century Barracuda to replace the Challenger, according to a story on the Motor Trend Web site.

The car would be smaller and lighter than the Challenger, and it would be built on a rear-wheel-drive platform co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat. Alfa Romeo would share the platform with a wide range of models, according to the story. Today’s Challenger shares a platform with the first generation Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

The Barracuda’s styling would be a far less literal interpretation of its namesake than the Challenger, adopting styling cues instead of the strong retro look found on today’s Challenger, the story says.

“That’s all speculation. We’re looking at a lot of things,” said Dan Reid, a Chrysler spokesman.

Read the full article.

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