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.

Ram coming in with the Ducato for North America

It was a matter of time before Chrysler re-entered the commercial van market in North America and now we know what’s coming. Starting in 2013 Chrysler’s Ram division will produce a version of Fiat’s Ducato Van to square off with Ford and GM’s commercial vans. This could be a real player in that segment but time will tell.

From Auto News.com:

Chrysler Group plans to add a large expansion to its current facilities in Saltillo, Mexico, to assemble a Ram-branded version of the Fiat Ducato commercial van for North America.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group, said this week at the Detroit auto show that the expansion of the Saltillo plant would make it “the center for production of light-commercial vehicles in North America for us.”

A Chrysler spokesman would not confirm the size of the investment, but company sources said it was expected to be about $500 million. Chrysler already operates a truck assembly plant, a stamping plant and two engine plants in Saltillo, about 180 miles southwest of Laredo, Texas.

Marchionne said the front-wheel-drive full-sized commercial van shares a platform with the Peugeot Boxer in Europe.

Read the full article.

November Car Sales Kick into Gear!

Car sales picked up the pace in November but will it last? The annual rate of 13.8 million sales we might have turned the corner to better days ahead. Chrysler was up a staggering 45 percent and that isn’t a misprint.

From the Detroit News:

November shaped up to be a strong month for U.S. auto sales with all major automakers except Honda Motor Co. reporting better results than a year ago.

Honda’s sales of 83,925 were down 6 percent from a year ago, largely on inventory woes due to flooding in Thailand.

Chrysler Group LLC reported a whopping 45 percent sales increase in November in the first results of what is expected to be one of strongest months of the year for U.S. vehicle sales.

Conversely, General Motors Co. only saw sales grow 7 percent compared with a year ago.

Ford Motor Co. sits in the middle with total sales of 166,865, up 13 percent from 2010 results.

Toyota Motor Corp. said its sales were up 6.7 percent in November on volume of 137,960 units.

Chrysler, the biggest gainer for the month, sold 107,172 vehicles in November, the automaker’s sixth consecutive month of best year-over-year sales this year.

“With sales up 45 percent, November was another huge month for the Chrysler Group and our highest year-over-year sales gain of 2011,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales.

Strong sellers for the Auburn Hills automaker included the Chrysler 300 and 200 sedans, which contributed to the Chrysler brand’s 92 percent hike over last year and best November since 2008. Also boosting sales were the Dodge Charger, Avenger and Durango. The Fiat 500 notched 1,618 sales for the month.

Read the full article.

Chrysler leads the pack in Detroit for June growth

From the Detroit News:

The three Detroit-based automakers all reported double-digit U.S. sales increases in June, led by Chrysler Group LLC’s 30 percent increase from a year ago with 120,394 vehicles sold and the best June for the automaker since 2007.

That is followed by a 13.6 percent increase reported by Ford Motor Co. with 194,114 vehicles sold.

The third domestic automaker, General Motors Co., reported a 10.2 percent increase on sales of 215, 358 vehicles compared with June 2010.

Among the top Japanese automakers, who continue to struggle with earthquake-related shortages, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. reported a 27.1 percent decline for the month with total sales of 83,892. The Honda brand suffered a 27.4 percent drop in sales for the month while the luxury Acura brand was off pace by 24.5 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. saw a 21.1 percent falloff for the month with 110,937 vehicles sold. The Toyota brand dropped 18.7 percent; Lexus division sales fell 37.8 percent compared with a year ago, when Japanese production was at full throttle.

“June marked a significant turning point for Toyota as sales moved up over last month (May),” said Don Esmond, head of U.S. operations. Supply and selection are improving daily, he said.

Read the full article.

At Chrysler – Sergio can say ” I did it my way”

Behind the scenes look at how Chrysler broke away from government control.

From AutoNews.com:

NEW YORK – On the morning of May 24, an upbeat Sergio Marchionne was combing his music library to compile a playlist for an employee event that afternoon at Chrysler Group LLC’s headquarters.

As the chief executive settled on Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Eyes on the Prize,” he received a phone call with long-awaited news: Chrysler finally repaid $7.6 billion of bailout loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments.

That day marked a new chapter in the comeback of the smallest of Detroit’s three automakers, the one the Obama administration wasn’t sure was worth saving back in 2009.

It was the Italian businessman’s deep involvement in Chrysler, and Fiat SpA’s willingness to put in $1.27 billion, that helped the company pull off one of the largest debt deals since the financial crisis — winning the backing of some of the same banks that were wiped out in its bankruptcy.

Investors who looked at the deal were initially skeptical about the large size of the financing as Chrysler still had to address concerns over its vehicle lineup and financial outlook, people involved in the process said. There were also questions over whether the company had really transformed itself.

Read the full article.

New Dr. Dre Chrysler Commercial “Good Things”

Here is Chrysler’s latest commercial “Good Things,” which features Dr. Dre and The Beats by Dr. Dre audio system.

The Beats experience was designed to replicate the audio experience the artist has inside the recording studio and is available with the all-new 2012 Chrysler 300S. Now you can hear music the way Dr. Dre himself does! Check out Dr. Dre as he takes his sound out on the streets of downtown Los Angeles:

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