For the time being Chrysler has no plans to stop selling passenger automobiles. But, compared to the sales of light trucks at Chrysler, their automobile sales are just plain terrible. For June 2016, Chrysler passenger car sales were down 39.6% from a year ago June to just 26,550 units. Even worse, imported Fiat car sales were a horrible 1,338 passenger cars, down 50.7% from last June. But, light truck sales are buoying Chrysler as a whole to slightly better sales than last year, where the Chrysler combined Jeep and Ram sales are nearly as strong as Ford’s light truck sales. Chrysler’s light truck sales are up 21.8% from a year ago, at the very strong 167,943 units level for June 2016. Fiat did add 1,156 in light truck sales, but those numbers are small compared to the strengths of Jeep and Ram for the company.
The March 9. 1987 purchase of American Motors Corporation by Chrysler gave the company the control of the Jeep brand, and Jeep sales in addition to Dodge Ram sales remain the bright spot for Chrysler, boosting the overall strength of a company where passenger car sales seem to be quickly disappearing.
Chrysler’s declining passenger car sales compared to light trucks can be blamed on several factors. SUV and crossover styles have simply become more popular to buyers, while many of the Chrysler and Fiat passenger car models seem to be losing appeal to many buyers. The company has centered many recent nontruck ads on their minivans as well as high performance Dodge Challenger models which show some market strengths. But, the high cost of tooling new models and slow sales might doom Chrysler passenger cars at some future point unless some high mileage hybrid models will be introduced to better compete with Toyota, Ford and Honda. Unless something changes at Chrysler, the company may someday become mostly a light truck brand at some point.