Chrysler’s July sales soared 25.3%, compared with like-2010, boosted by strong demand for its Jeep products, according to Ward’s data.

Jeep sales jumped 51.8% on 38,691 deliveries, more than one-third of which were Wranglers. Such demand enabled the iconic SUV to reclaim its position as the brand’s top-seller from the Grand Cherokee, Jeep’s flagship.

Through June, the Grand Cherokee accounted for 54,370 sales, compared with the Wrangler’s 53,236. But last month’s tally pushed the Wrangler back into the lead, 67,591 to 63,869.

The Wrangler has outsold the Grand Cherokee every year following its ’07 redesign, ending a 16-year streak that favored the larger SUV.

Chrysler highlights its 33% retail-sales gain in July. “In a market that remains tougher than a cheap steak, we were able to produce our highest retail sales in more than three years,” U.S. sales chief Reid Bigland says in a statement.

“That statistic is the ultimate testament to the progress we have made with our product,” adds Bigland, who also is Dodge-brand president and CEO and has responsibility for Chrysler Canada.

Dogged in recent years by subpar quality, Chrysler – guided by Italy’s Fiat since emerging from bankruptcy in mid-2009 – has redoubled its efforts to satisfy the customer. J.D. Power and Associates’ latest Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study, released last week, showed the auto maker’s scores had improved “considerably” from 2010.

Chrysler’s July car sales totaled 27,760, for a 32.7% gain over prior-year. Light-truck deliveries totaled 83,758, up 23%.

Through July, Chrysler sales were tracking 26.9% ahead of like-2010, according to Ward’s data, which is adjusted for selling days.

There were 26 selling days last month, compared with prior-year’s 27.

Meanwhile, the Jeep Patriot narrowly missed a milestone. Its 4,598 deliveries in July left the nameplate 109 units short of 200,000 all-time sales.

The Patriot launched in 2007.