The Jeep brand takes a sales hit as factories prepare for the new Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, but other brands remain on track.
Liberty sales winding down as model phases out.
sales rose in February, compared with year-ago, despite expected production slowdowns of key Chrysler models.
The auto maker delivered 138,270 vehicles in the month, WardsAuto data shows, with an 8.6% daily sales increase from like-2012. There were 25 selling days this year compared with 24 in 2012.
Production of the Jeep Liberty SUV ended last year, while the plant where the Jeep Grand Cherokee is assembled briefly idled to prepare for the next-generation model. As a result, the brand’s overall deliveries were down 13% from year-ago to 31,164.
The Toledo, OH, facility where the Liberty is built is preparing for production of the Jeep Cherokee. Two other Jeep models, the Patriot and Compass, also see refreshes this year.
’s highest-selling model for February was the Ram 1500 pickup, up 8.2% to 22,544 units.
The Chrysler 200 sedan also was a top performer with sales of 11,446 units, but the larger 300 saw a 31.8% decline from prior-year to 5,023. Including the Town & Country minivan, the Chrysler brand sold 25,803 vehicles.
500 sales rose 13% in February from January to 3,302 500 units. Dealers welcome the larger 500L sedan later this year.
Dodge-brand deliveries reached 55,189 units last month, led by the Caravan with 10,415, and Charger, with 10,301. The closely watched Dart small car saw a small uptick from its best-selling month in January, to a record 7,720.
The SRT Viper sold one unit in February as deliveries begin to trickle in this year.
“In spite of a cautious ramp-up of some of our most popular products, which limited inventory last month, we still managed to record our strongest February sales in five years and our 35th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” Reid Bigland, head of Chrysler’s U.S. sales, says in a statement.
“Looking ahead, we expect to get our inventory gaps corrected over the next 90 days resulting in additional products contributing to our growth.”