January Domestic Sales Not So Frosty

By Jason Davis | February 01, 2012
The La Nina this winter has been cold and dry, says the American Agriculturist, but for the domestic auto manufacturers, January sizzled. Overall, Chrysler Group LLC was up 44 percent compared to January 2011, with double digit gains at Jeep, Ram Truck, Dodge, and Chrysler, respectively. The Ford Motor Company paced Chrysler sales by about 35,000 last month, seeing a 7-percent gain over January 2011, fueled for the most part by continued strength of Focus, Escape, and F-150. General Motors may have dipped 6 percent in January '12 compared to the same month last year, but pushed about 30,000 more vehicles than Ford last month, and saw its car division gain 12-percent in the same period. What does this mean for Detroit? 2012's about to get real. Chrysler’s Winners:
  • With 7007 models sold, the Chrysler 200 is Chrysler's best-selling car, and was up 789 percent compared to January 2011. 789 percent.
  • The redesigned Chrysler 300 was up 273 percent, with 4963 units sold. Jay-Z says hey.
  • The entire Jeep brand is up 37 percent, led by double-digit growth for every current model in its lineup.
  • The Durango, Charger, and Avenger each posted triple-digit growth.
Chrysler’s Losers:
  • With limited dealer support and a shaky marketing campaign (does anyone even like prissy JLO?), it’s not hard to figure out why the 2012 Fiat 500 just isn't living up to expectations. Fiat sold 1911 models last month, still well below the number needed to hit the 50,000/yr projection.
  • Bye bye, Caliber and Nitro! Thank God…
  • The Challenger was actually up 1 percent last month, to which the Camaro ZL1 and Mustang GT500 could be heard laughing at from the racetrack...
Ford’s Winners:
  • The Ford Focus sold 14,400 units last month, good for a 59.8-percent increase over January 2012. The upcoming Focus ST will soon be here to help, as well.
  • The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle for the past 30 years, and last month was 7-percent better than this month last year. Of the 38,494 F-150's sold, 54 percent were equipped with V-6's, and 42-percent of V-6's were EcoBoost. GM should take note…
  • Repeat alert: With its replacement introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2012 Ford Escape is reaping the benefits of huge incentives to clear lot space: 17,259 customers drove away with one last month.
Ford’s Losers:
  • While both the Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT are supposed to replace the defunct Lincoln Town Car, neither is doing a particularly good job. Yes, the MKS posted a 23.3-percent increase for January, but that is still less than the Crown Victoria and Town Car combined. Those cars, by the way, have been out of production for several months.
  • Repeat alert: Some people speculated the new Explorer would cannibalize sales of the already slow-selling Ford Flex crossover. They're still right.
  • With a 77-percent increase last month, will Ranger fans go big when supply dries up for the now-defunct compact truck?
General Motors’ Winners:
  • We feel bad for the one person who bought a Chevrolet Cobalt last month: that person should have got the Chevrolet Cruze, which is on a roll lately, up 10.4 percent from this month last year.
  • It's hard to believe, but the Chevrolet Impala was GM's best-selling car last month with 16,009 units sold, a 5.4-percent increase from January 2011.
  • The Chevrolet Volt does not catch fire, but its sales have, posting 87.9-percent increase last month compared to January 2011.
General Motors’ Losers:
  • Every Buick and Cadillac, except for the Buick LaCrosse, the only vehicle in the black last month for both respective brands.
  • The 4 people who bought a Chevrolet HHR last month. Seriously. Why?
  • The newly-competent Buick Regal, the young-magnet that was to be, sold just 1855 models last month, down almost 21 percent. Hard to see that rebounding when the Cadillac ATS comes out…
Source: Chrysler, Ford, and GM