February Domestic Sales: Chrysler Kicks Butt Edition

By Keith Buglewicz | March 01, 2012
The big headline from today's monthly sales news is simple: Chrysler is on a roll. Big time. The company posted its best February sales since 2008, which was shaping up to be a banner year for everyone until the economy did this. Overall, Chrysler Group sales—which includes the Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Fiat brands—rose 40 percent compared to last year. Leading the charge for the company was, well, everything, but especially the company's passenger cars. Every vehicle did better, except for the ones that have been discontinued, and of course the long-lamented Caliber. Well done, Chrysler. But what about the other two-thirds of the Detroit Three? Ford did well, continuing its steady growth. Total sales for Ford—which includes the Ford and Lincoln brands—were up 14 percent overall compared to last February. Even Lincoln did better, improving by 16.2 percent compared to last year. While General Motors went up as well, the uptick was a miniscule 1.1 percent. Chevrolet posted a modest 5.6 percent gain thanks mostly to its small car sales, but GMC, Buick and especially Cadillac fell. We break it all down below. Chrysler's Winners
  • Chrysler 300: Chrysler's big sedan saw a 480 percent increase compared to last February. That's a nearly sixfold increase.
  • Chrsyler 200: Not to be outdone by its big brother, the 200's sales increased more than fourfold.
  • Dodge Charger: Like the Chrysler 300—with which it shares its underpinnings—the big Dodge Charger sedan's sales percentage increased by triple digits, more than doubling compared to last year.
  • Ram Trucks: Sales went up a modest-by-comparison 21 percent. Chrysler points out that regular-cab models posted the largest increase, which means more work trucks are heading out the door, boding well for the overall economic health of the country at large.
Chrysler's Losers
  • Dodge Caliber: The unloved Dodge Caliber will soon be relieved of its anchor-the-bottom duties by the wholly superior 2013 Dodge Dart. But it's still out there, and it's still sucking air, with sales down 46 percent compared to last year's dismal number.
General Motors' Winners
  • Chevrolet Division: Most current Chevrolet models showed increased sales compared to last February. Fuel efficient cars did particularly well: Chevy moved 1,023 Volt EVs; 7,900 Sonic subcompacts; and 20,427 Cruze sedans, making it the sixth time the compact Chevy sold more than 20,000 in a month.
  • Buick LaCrosse: With the standard eAssist hybrid setup, the LaCrosse saw sales increase 20.8 percent, making it the only Buick with positive sales numbers compared to last year.
  • GMC Savana: If you notice that your plumber has a shiny new van, it may be one of the 2,126 Savanas that GMC managed to sell last month, a threefold increase compared to last year.
General Motor's Losers
  • Cadillac Division: Compared to last February, every single Cadillac model showed lower numbers. Maybe Mrs. Romney needs a few more.
  • Buick Regal: We're surprised by this one, frankly. The Regal's a good car, but sales still managed to fall by nearly 29 percent compared to last year.
  • GMC Sierra/Chevrolet Silverado: It's not that these two trucks did really badly—the Silverado showed a modest gain—but they obviously didn't cash in on the new-truck boom that hit Chrysler and Ford.
Ford's Winners
  • Lincoln Division: Like a nerdy kid hitting a home run, Lincoln gets our respect for its double-digit increase over last year's numbers. Every current Lincoln model showed gains, especially the big MKS sedan, which saw a nearly 51 percent increase from last year.
  • Ford Focus: Ford's compact saw a huge sales bump from last year: the 23,350 Foci sold is more than twice as many as last year.
  • Ford Mustang: Chevy may be crowing about its Camaro sales, but the Mustang's heating up, with sales nearly twice last year's level.
  • Ford F-150: Ford's pickup continues to be a strong seller, and the EcoBoost V-6 is leading the way. The F-150 line is up 26 percent compared to last year, and EcoBoost is powering about a quarter of those.
Ford's Losers
  • Ford Taurus: The big five-passenger sedan saw sales slide compared to last year to the tune of 23 percent.
  • Ford Flex: This unloved family hauler still can't seem to find its mojo, with sales slipping 14.5 percent compared to last year, and down 20 percent overall for 2012.
  • Ford Fiesta: Although the Fiesta has a lot going for it, apparently it's not enough, as the little subcompact is down 12 percent for February, and more than 14 percent for the year.