Chrysler Group up 10% in December, 21% for 2012
Automaker returns to pre-bankruptcy market share
DETROIT -- Strong sales of pickups and small cars pushed Chrysler Group sales up 10 percent in December, helping the automaker finish up 21 percent for 2012.
The company sold 152,367 light vehicles in December, its 33rd consecutive month of year-over-year U.S. sales improvements. December was Chrysler's second-best month of the year, trailing only March, when the company sold 163,381 units.
Chrysler said its U.S. market share climbed to 11.2 percent in 2012, higher than the 11 percent share the company had in 2008, the year before its bankruptcy. Chrysler finished 2012 with U.S. sales of 1,651,787 units, its third consecutive year of outpacing the industry and adding share.
Sales of Ram pickups climbed 16 percent in December as dealers cleared out 2012 models with steep discounts and started selling re-engineered 2013 models. For the year, the Ram pickup was up 20 percent to remain Chrysler's top seller.
The Dodge Dart compact sedan had its best sales month since its launch in June, with sales of 6,105 units. In late November, Chrysler put a $750 rebate on the Dart and continued it in December.
Seven Chrysler Group vehicles — the Jeep Wrangler and Patriot; Chrysler 200; Dodge Avenger, Challenger and Journey; and Fiat 500 — had their best sales years in 2012.
Jeep brand sales were down 9 percent in December, largely because of lower sales for the outgoing Liberty. But Chrysler said strong U.S. sales in 2012 helped Jeep top its previous global sales record of 675,494, set in 1999. Global sales figures will be available later this month.
Chrysler's inventory levels, which had climbed to 90 days on Dec. 1, dropped to a 73-day supply at the beginning of this month. Sixty days is considered ideal.
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