Jeep, Ram power Chrysler Group up 20%

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Chrysler Group sales shot up 20 percent in August, powered by Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups.

The automaker posted sales of 198,379 last month, its best August since 2002 and its 53rd consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

Jeep continued its hot streak, with sales climbing 49 percent year-over-year. The Wrangler posted its highest-ever August sales, while the Jeep Patriot set its all-time monthly record.

Sales of the Jeep Cherokee were more than 14 percent higher in August than they were in May, when the new midsize SUV set its previous monthly sales record.

Pickups were also hot for Chrysler last month, climbing 33 percent to push Ram brand sales up 39 percent. The company said light-duty pickups were up 31 percent last month, while sales of its heavy-duty line climbed 39 percent.

Chrysler brand sales rose 4 percent last month, helped by the Town & Country minivan posting its highest-ever August sales. Sales of the Chrysler 200 climbed 7 percent and topped 10,000 units per month for the first time since February, before the redesigned 2015 model was introduced.

Chrysler brand head Al Gardner told Automotive News in late July that the brand only had a few thousand remaining 2014 Chrysler 200s in inventory.

At Fiat, a full-month stop-sale order caused by a recall on the knee airbags of the 500L limited sales of the five-door hatchback to just 33 units in August. Fiat brand sales fell 20 percent in the month.

Dodge brand sales fell 6 percent last month although the Dart set a sales record for August and the Dodge Journey recorded its highest-ever monthly sales.

Chrysler said it finished the month with a 64-day supply of unsold inventory.

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at -- Follow Larry P. on Twitter: @LarryVellequett

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