Chrysler Group LLC has surprised analysts and investors by posting an 11% increase in vehicle sales for the month of May – an improvement credited largely accelerating interest in pickup trucks. Chrysler has thus become the first major US automaker to post its sales report for May – the rest of the industry is expected to break silence throughout Monday afternoon.
Following an April which was in the minds of most best forgotten about altogether, analysts are banking on overall auto sales across the US a full 6% higher than the same month last year. Improvements in the housing market and a stronger national economy are expected to encourage significantly higher spending among consumers.
In total, industry experts expect to see approximately 15.2 million vehicles sold during May.
The star of the show for Chrysler was as expected the Ram pickup – always the top-seller for the brand. This time, sales of the Ram were up an exceptional 22% for the month compared to the same time last year, which is ideal for Chrysler as these kinds of vehicles are known generally to bring in more profit on a per-vehicle basis than standard cars and SUVs.
Analysts remain confident that the surge in pickup interest will not benefit Chrysler exclusively, but will also generate impressive May sales reports for other US auto-giants including Ford and General Motors.
The positive performance makes this May the 38th month in a row that Chrysler has announced like-for-like sales improvements on the previous year.
Not quite following in the footsteps of the RAM was the Dodge Dart – sales of which were down a full 8% on the month before to come out at 7,448 vehicles shipped. This is the first time in six months that the Dart has suffered a decline in sales on a month-by-month basis – the car that’s become Chrysler’s key focus for pushing its smaller, more fuel-frugal lines.
According to analysts however, this poor performance is not in fact the fault of the Dart itself, but rather the lack of marketing Chrysler threw behind it. They argue that they didn’t focus enough effort on pushing the fact that the dart is a small car with a genuinely impressive makeup – consumers are apparently confusing the Dart with the rather undesirable Caliber.
With the right kind of push, the Dart has every potential to join the ranks of the Ram and continue and exceptionally strong year for Chrysler, analysts project.
Meanwhile, Ford has made the announcement that its two assembly plants in Australia are to close in October 2016 and production will be withdrawn from the country altogether. Chief Executive of Ford Australia Bob Graziano confirmed that the Broadmeadows assembly plant and Geelong engine plant will close their doors for good on just over three years.
Ford has long faced an increasingly difficult time in Australia with vehicle sales in decline, production costs on the up and the strength of the Australian dollar brining further expense.