FCA US reported a 10% decline in its first-quarter sales as the positive momentum in January and February was more than offset by the country’s unpreparedness for the ongoing coronavirus that is still running rampant. For the quarter, U.S. sales were 446,768 vehicles compared with 498,425 for the same period a year earlier. Retail sales were 306,898 vehicles for the quarter. Fleet accounted for 31% of total sales.
For a real indicator of things to come, it will take another couple of months. One harbinger is worrisome – Fiat sales dropped 49% from a tiny base to 1128; More relevant is Dodge sales declining -20% to 88,657 for the month of March; Overall as stated, FCA monthly sales declined to 446,768 or -10%.
Effective today, FCA will change the purchase process through the “Drive Forward” initiative, which provides consumers with incentives and our new “Online Retail Experience.”* Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Truck, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands will offer 24/7 support and well-qualified buyers can get 0% financing for 84 months and no payments for 90 days on select 2019 and 2020 models. Additionally, FCA is folding “Chrysler Pacifica Family Pricing” and “Dodge Power Dollars” into Drive Forward.
“Our dealers have once again stepped up as pillars of the community as they have continued to provide critical support to our customers on the road,” claimed U.S. Head of Sales Jeff Kommor. “Many have taken extraordinary steps, ranging from enhanced sanitizing protocols for their showrooms to the offer of home delivery and other concierge services to keep consumers safe.”
Ram pickup trucks were OK as sales rose 7% to 128,805 vehicles. Overall, the Ram brand rose 3% to 140,486 vehicles. Chrysler Pacifica sales rose 5% to 24,525 and Jeep® Gladiator had sales of 15,259 vehicles. It was the third consecutive quarter the newish Gladiator has surpassed the 15,000 mark.
* ORE is digital retailing that allows customers to complete the entire vehicle purchase process online from the comfort of their own homes. Not only can consumers purchase a vehicle off a dealer lot, they can conduct a vehicle trade-in, apply for credit, receive price and payment estimates and review service protection plan options. Customers can explore ORE via the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Truck, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brand websites where they can begin the purchase process, then connect with a local dealer to finalize the sale, saving time in the process. A call center agent is available to help consumers.