FCA Claims Sales Leadership in “Light Trucks”
Definition Includes Pickups, SUVs, Crossovers, and Vans
Today comes news of more than 1,300 layoffs at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) Sterling Heights assembly plant, which currently builds the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart sedans. The longer-term plan for Sterling Heights is to change it to a body-on-frame plant to build the next-generation Ram pickup starting in 2018. Permanently displaced workers will be offered other positions in the region based on seniority. However, the rest of the story shows why FCA is so bullish on its truck-heavy future model strategy. FCA claimed total sales of light trucks for March of 178,407. The numbers provided by FCA of its competitors’ sales show 177,514 units for Ford, and 177,458 for General Motors.
In this case, the definition of “light trucks” is very broad. Among the models included in the total are the Fiat 500L and 500X, Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country, as well as the Ram C/V cargo van, and the ProMaster and ProMaster City. FCA has an advantage over Ford and GM for having a significant presence in the minivan market, a segment in which GM is totally absent in the U.S., and Ford has only a peripheral presence with the Transit Connect. Sales of the 200 and Dart have continued to disappoint, with only 6,176 200s sold in March, and just 5,349 Darts. In comparison, Ford sold 29,675 Fusions in March, and 18,618 Focus sedans and hatchbacks. Chevrolet sold 22,058 Malibus and 9,881 Cruzes. The midsize and compact sedan leaders, the Toyota Camry and Corolla, sold 36,991 and 32,556 units in March, respectively.
Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles