DETROIT -- Paced by its Dodge brand, Chrysler Group reported a 33 percent sales increase last month.
Chrysler sold 104,819 units in May, just a year after the company's first month in a government-managed bankruptcy. It was the first time the company topped 100,000 sales in more than a year.
The numbers varied among Chrysler’s four brands. Dodge sales shot up 73 percent to 42,242, led by the Charger. The Charger was the top-selling Dodge at 9,625 units, up 136 percent over May 2009.
The Chrysler brand rose 29 percent to 20,699 units, Jeep increased 6 percent to 22,948 and Ram truck sales were up 12 percent to 18,930.
The Ram pickup was still the Chrysler Group's top seller at 17,298 units. The Chrysler Town & Country was second with 13,395 units and the Jeep Wrangler was third at 9,634. The Grand Caravan and Town & Country benefitted from a special promotion called Minivan Month.
Chrysler did not divulge how sales were split between fleet and retail. Earlier this year, the company stopped reporting the national fleet percentage to dealers. Fleets accounted for 58 percent of Chrysler sales in February. The company has set 25 percent as a goal for fleet sales in 2010.
Chrysler did not sell any vehicles to fleets in May or June 2009, when its factories were shut down.
The company unveiled its June incentives to dealers this morning. The program remains largely unchanged from last month. All four brands are still offering zero percent financing options.
Sales of the Dodge Challenger benefited from an incentive called Mopar bucks, which customers can redeem for $2,000 worth of accessories to customize their cars. Sales of the muscle car increased 42 percent in May, which was the third month of the Mopar promotion.
David Kelleher, a member of the Chrysler National Dealer Council and owner of David Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep in Glen Mills, Pa., praised Chrysler for announcing incentives early for the third month in a row. In the past, the company sometimes waited several days into the sales month before rolling out incentives.
“It's big because I buy my media on the first,” he said. “If I have to wait until the fifth to buy my media, I'm losing time.”