Chrysler's 'Iron Man' streak rolls on
The 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan recorded its best month -- 3,045 units -- since sales started in June.
DETROIT -- Strong sales of sedans and pickups pushed Chrysler Group sales up 14 percent in August, extending its streak of monthly year-over-year sales gains.
Chrysler reported sales in August of 148,472 units, compared with 130,120 units for the same month a year ago. The company's car sales jumped 21 percent sales while pickup sales rose 12 percent, leading to the automaker's best August since 2007.
All of Chrysler's five brands recorded increases in August, led by Fiat's 34 percent increase to 4,150 units. Each of the Chrysler brand's three vehicles recorded a double-digit sales increase for the month. The brand's overall sales were up by 25 percent to 28,070.
The Ram brand's sales climbed 18 percent because of continued strong pickup sales, while sales of Dodge brand vehicles rose 13 percent in August. Jeep sales were up 5 percent.
"Our Iron Man streak continued last month as we posted our 29th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth," Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales and the Dodge brand, said in a statement. "Our hard work over the past few years is starting to pay some dividends in our sales growth, quality awards and profitability."
Among the company's continuing models, only the Dodge Durango and Jeep Compass and Patriot had sales declines in August.
The 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan recorded its best month -- 3,045 units -- since sales started in June, while the Fiat 500 finally reached a sales level close to the 50,000 units a year initially predicted by Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Sales of the Chrysler 300 climbed 65 percent in August to 4,668 units, while sales of the Dodge Charger sedan rose 30 percent to 5,419 units.
While most of Chrysler's approximately 2,525 dealerships had increased sales, local conditions such as weather and even politics still affected monthly numbers.
"We sold 57 new last month. Last year, we were right at 60," explained Brian Olson, new-vehicle sales manager at Ferman Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in New Port Richey, Fla. Olson said threats from Hurricane Isaac and even crowds from the Republican National Convention in nearby Tampa probably tamped down sales in August.
"I never want to use the weather as an excuse, but it does affect people," Olson said. "But we're still double where we were two years ago, and we're thrilled with our new product line." c
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