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Chrysler Grabs #1 Spot in Canada

Strong demand “North of the Border” offsets other problems.

by on Apr.04, 2013

Oh, Canada! Chrysler takes a rare lead.

Fiat/Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has had some tough times lately trying to launch production in China while hoping to revive a faltering deal in Russia. Then there’s the challenge of a crumbling European car market that has hammered the Italian side of the trans-Atlantic automaker – so it’s good to be getting a lift from one corner of the globe.

Chrysler is now the sales leader in Canada, nudging its way in the relatively small market past traditional industry leader General Motors, as well as rival Ford Motor Co. and Japanese giant Toyota. With its strong network of rural dealers, Chrysler’s unexpected dominance “North of the Border” serves to provide some credibility to Marchionne’s ongong efforts to build Chrysler/Fiat into a global power house.

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(It also comes as a point of personal celebration for the Fiat/Chrysler CEO who grew up in Canada.)

Up until now, Marchionne’s efforts, while scoring some impressive results in the U.S., have still been greeted by a large measure of skepticism by analysts who don’t believe the American-Italian company can compete long-term.

Nonetheless, Chrysler Canada has reported its 40th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth, representing the longest sales streak in the company’s history and the longest current streak in the industry. March 2013 sales were 24,173 compared with 22,703 vehicles sold in March, 2012, which represents a 6% increase.

The results maintain Chrysler Canada’s position as the number one seller of vehicles in the country for the first three months of 2013, the maker noted.

”We experienced our best Ram truck sales in our history this month, helping Chrysler remain the number one seller of vehicles in Canada,” said Dave Buckingham, Chief Operating Officer, Chrysler Canada. ”Dodge Dart sales really gave us a boost this month as well, more than doubling our February sales.”

Buckingham said the introduction of the all-new Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty Ram trucks have given Chrysler’s position in Canada a big lift. Garnering awards including North American Truck/Utility of the Year, Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas, Ram trucks saw their best sales month ever in March with 7,476 units sold – compared with 6,526 sold in the same month of 2012.

The Canadian results were all the more impressive because the popular Jeep brand is going through a major transition that has closed a key assembly plant in Toledo since Christmas. The Toledo North plant isn’t scheduled to reopen until May 23 – which led to a sharp drop in overall Jeep sales for March. In addition, the Jefferson North plant in Detroit, which builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee, is in the middle of a slow “ramp-up” of production for the updated 2014 Grand Cherokee.

Chrysler/Fiat recently signed a deal with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co, to expand cooperation to build vehicles, particularly Jeeps and Fiats, in China.

“The Jeeps to be produced in China will be a particular model only for the Chinese market,” Chrysler suggested, observers suggesting that tooling for the old Jeep Liberty once used in Toledo could be on its way to China.

A deal to build Jeeps in Russia, however, has been hamstrung in talks with Russian authorities.

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3 Responses to “Chrysler Grabs #1 Spot in Canada”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    I agree that long term Fiat/Chrysler is doomed as Fiat products and design mentality has been rejected over and over and over in the U.S. in the past and for good reason.

  2. manousos1 says:

    But this time FIAT and Chrysler have something no-one else ever had:
    The digital ICE engine.

    With the MultiAir / UniAir / TwinAir tech FIAT/Chrysler turn the old ICE into a digital device, well ahead the competition.

    As early as 1940, Ralf Miller patented their Miller Cycle.

    Toyota, Mazda, Nissan discovered the advantages of the Miller cycle as late as 1995 and were quick to make use of it (TODAY),
    but only a single mode they can do,

    because only FIAT has a patent of the Tech that makes an infinity of modes possible:
    the MultiAir tech.

  3. heyfred3000 says:

    These guys seem to be savvy marketers. I never thought I’d see Fiat Freemonts (née Dodge Journey) plying the 1,000+ y/o VERY auto-unfriendly steets of Palermo IT, where 95% of cars are tiny hatchbacks, or Cinquecentos in rural Georgia 150 miles from the nearest dealership. And the long-term tests I’ve read in car mags show no quality problems.