Chrysler Group gains on Jeep, Ram volume

Chrysler Group sold 169,890 vehicles in September, a 19 percent increase from September 2013, with every brand but Dodge contributing to the company’s gains. It was the group’s 54th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.

Jeep sales rose 47 percent, and Ram pickup volume increased 30 percent to 36,612.

Volume rose 35 percent at the Ram brand, 14 percent at the Chrysler brand and 6 percent at Fiat; sales skidded 9 percent at Dodge.

Chrysler brand deliveries were driven by the redesigned 200 midsize sedan and the Town & Country minivan. Sales of the 200 rose 15 percent last month to 10,995, its best showing ever in September, the company said.

At Jeep, the Cherokee midsize SUV outsold the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light truck deliveries jumped 30 percent while car sales slid 7 percent.

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler Group, credited “continued consumer demand” for the 200, Jeep lineup and Ram pickup for the company’s latest results.

Even the V-10-powered Dodge Viper sports car is finally accelerating.

With savings of as much as $30,000, sales of the Viper jumped from 38 in August to 108 in September.

The Viper’s leap forward was just one bit of good sales news for the Chrysler Group in September.

TrueCar estimates the company’s incentives averaged $3,644 in September, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Edmunds.com pegged Chrysler’s average spiff per vehicle sold at $3,281, an increase of 22 percent from September 2013.

In August, Fiat halted sales on the 500L four-door compact to replace the knee airbags in 29,000 vehicles. Fiat sold just 33 of them that month. The fix was completed in late September, and 500L sales recovered to 623 in the month.

Fiat and BMW’s Mini are locked in a sales battle for America’s favorite premium small car. In September, Fiat sold 3,360 vehicles, while Mini sold 4,219.

Dodge started September with more than 600 unsold Vipers in dealer inventory, a 434-day supply. Some of the unsold Vipers were 2013 models.

To move them, Dodge cut the price on all unsold Vipers by $15,000 each and offered $15,000 coupons for buyers who already own a 2013-14 model. Dodge also made the Viper available to sell at all Dodge dealers, not just SRT-approved stores. To get the full $30,000 savings, customers had to buy another Viper or trade in their current car.

Chrysler has not said when the Viper plant will restart production. It has been idled since July 3.

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