DETROIT -- Powered by re-engineered SUVs and pickups, Chrysler Group today reported its best July sales since the DaimlerChrysler era.
The company sold 140,102 vehicles last month, up 11 percent over July 2012. It was the company's best July since 2006 and its 40th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.
The higher volumes were led by double-digit increases in sales of Ram light- and heavy-duty pickups, Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos.
Ram light-duty pickups were up 25 percent over 2012, while heavy-duty pickup sales climbed 35 percent. Both were re-engineered for the 2013 model year to add eight-speed automatic transmissions and other fuel saving technologies.
The hot-selling Jeep Grand Cherokee, which also got the eight-speed automatic for the 2013 model year, had its best July since 2005 and was up 30 percent over last year, while the Jeep Wrangler and Compass recorded their best July sales ever.
Sales rose 31 percent at Ram, 18 percent at Dodge and 2 percent at Fiat and Jeep. Volume slipped 4 percent for the Chrysler brand. Four other vehicles -- the Dodge Avenger, Dart and Challenger and the Ram C/V -- set July sales records.
Several models in Chrysler's lineup had lower sales, including the Dodge Journey, Charger and Caravan and Chrysler 200.
Sales of the Fiat 500 subcompact suffered their sharpest monthly decline since the car's introduction in 2011, falling 24 percent. But the drop was offset by sales of the newly arrived and larger four-door 500L.