Chrysler sales up 10%, unsold inventory rises
The Chrysler Group reported sales of 126,185 units in October, compared with 114,512 units in October 2011, and extended to 31 its streak of month-over-month sales gains.
Chrysler Group posted a 10 percent U.S. sales gain last month, its best October since 2007, although Hurricane Sandy slowed sales in the crucial final days of the month and inventory levels rose sharply.
The company reported sales of 126,185 units in October, compared with 114,512 units in October 2011, and extended to 31 its streak of month-over-month sales gains.
Car sales rose 18 percent, led by an 89 percent increase in sales of the Fiat 500 subcompact to 3,720 units, as well as a 38 percent combined gain for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger large sedans.
Pickup and SUV sales, which make up more than two-thirds of Chrysler Group's volume, rose 7 percent for the month, buoyed by a 20 percent sales gain for the Ram pickup but slowed by a 5 percent decline in Jeep brand sales.
Sandy hobbled sales at more than a hundred Chrysler Group dealerships in Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. The dealerships lost power or suffered wind and water during the final three sales days of the month.
A Chrysler spokesman said dealerships in the direct path of the storm had reported their sales before the storm hit, and the automaker's monthly total included sales reports from all dealerships.
"In spite of Hurricane Sandy, Chrysler Group posted its best October sales since 2007 and we achieved our 31st-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth," Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales and the Dodge brand, said in a statement.
Several Chrysler Group models set monthly sales records for October, including the Fiat 500; Jeep Wrangler and Patriot; and Dodge Avenger and Journey. However, several other models saw double-digit sales declines, including the Jeep Compass, down 52 percent; the Chrysler 200, down 22 percent; and the Dodge Durango, down 16 percent.
The company finished the month with 404,122 units of unsold inventory, an 83-day supply, and its highest supply of unsold stock on hand since January 2012.
A 60-day supply is considered ideal. At this time last year, Chrysler had 299,896 units of unsold inventory, or a 68-day supply.
The inventory rise was spread across most of the automaker's lineup. Among Chrysler's continuing vehicles, only the Avenger and Dodge Grand Caravan minivan had a supply of fewer than 60 days.
Several models — the 500; Compass; Dodge Dart, Challenger and Durango; and Ram Cargo Van — had unsold stock of more than 100 days.
A Chrysler spokesman said the automaker was "happy" with the increased inventory levels. "We're trying to get as much inventory out there as we can, especially for hot products," spokesman Ralph Kisiel said.
Truecar.com analyst Jesse Toprak said Chrylser's average transaction price for the month rose 3.3 percent to $29,541 compared with $28,595 in October 2011, while its average incentive climbed 4.1 percent to $3,237, the highest among the eight largest automakers.
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