The old Chrysler Group has evolved through Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America into what is now Stellantis. It is the third-largest homegrown auto manufacturer in the US. The bulk of sales are still generated by its four original distinctively American brands - Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram trucks - though it also sells a small selection of the parent group's European vehicles. Though Chrysler retained its position for several decades in the corporate name, it has long been the company's smallest (and weakest) US-built business. Instead, the twin powerhouses of the US operation are Jeep and Ram Trucks, the country's #6 and #7 sellers in 2020, with sales of 795k and 625k vehicles respectively. Mainstream passenger car brand Dodge has gradually slipper ever further behind, falling to 267k in 2020 (the #18 seller), while Chrysler was in 24th place at 110k vehicles. US sales of Fiat were negligible, halving each year between 2018 and 2020 to just 4.3k units, while Alfa Romeo held steady at 18.6k. In terms of individual models, the main Ram pick-up was America's #3 best-selling model that year at 564k units, sitting behind its counterparts from Ford and Chevrolet, all three selling more than any other vehicle. The Jeep Cherokee sold 210k, and Jeep Wrangler 201k. Chrysler's best-seller was the Pacifica MPV at 84k, while the Dodge Charger sold 77k. Combined revenues for FCA NA in 2019 were $73.4bn, and the business contributed more than 90% of the parent group's combined profits. The old Chrysler business has undergone numerous upheavals in recent years, and several different owners. Created by former General Motors executive Walter Chrysler in the 1920s from the acquisition of several struggling independent car makers, it became one of America's most celebrated manufacturers during the 1930s, overtaking Ford to become the #2 behind General Motors. However, the death of Walter Chrysler in 1940 created a vacuum, and performance drifted in the post-war period. Having first narrowly avoided collapse at the end of the 1970s it was eventually acquired by Germany's Daimler in 1997 to form global giant DaimlerChrysler. The experiment never really worked, and Daimler cut its ties after a decade, selling the business to private equity investors. By the end of 2008, the newly independent group was once again on the brink of catastrophe, saved from bankruptcy only by funding from the US and Canadian governments. After struggling for months to present the US government with a turnaround pla, Chrysler finally agreed a partnership with Italian carmaker Fiat, which acquired management control during 2011. A full merger of the two companies took place in early 2014. FCA itself merged again in 2021 with PSA Groupe of France to create Stellantis.
Capsule checked 14th February 2020
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Historical profile information for Chrysler Group
Marketer Moves 21st Sep 2021: Departure of CEO Americas from Stellantis. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Marketer Moves 8th Sep 2021: New CEO at Chrysler. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Aug 2020: "Sandman". Richards Group has been responsible for several of the best ads ever for US truckmaker Ram, part of what is currently the Fiat Chrysler stable. (Soon to become Stellantis when - if? - the Peugeot Citroen merger takes place). This latest features spectacular scenery and stunt-driving, gorgeous photography and the haunting cover by SYML of that old 50s classic 'Sandman'. It's not quite as astonishing as Richards' all-conquering 'God Made A Farmer' spot for Ram, but it's not too far behind.
Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Jan 2018: Early estimates suggest that global car sales surpassed a record 90m in 2017 as a result of the continuing recovery in Western Europe and a rebound in emerging markets like Brazil and Russia. However US sales slipped back for the first time since 2009, down almost 2% to 17.2m vehicles. That still represented an unprecedented three-year run of over 17m per year, but market watcher Edmunds predicts an even steeper decline this year to 16.8m. The biggest growth factor in US sales has been the surge in sales of light trucks over traditional passenger cars. For the year, SUVs and pickups accounted for almost two-thirds of total sales, rising to 69% of total sales for the final month. GM led the market with just over 3m units for the year, down a little over 1% on 2016. Cadillac and Buick were both down, 8% and 4.5% respectively; so was Chevrolet, slipping 1.5% to 2.06m units. However, those declines were offset by GMC's 2.6% increase. Ford held second place with a total of 2.59m deliveries, also down 1%. The Ford brand's 2.51m units were led by the F-series pickup, which marked its 36th year as America's best-selling model. Toyota group sales slipped 0.6% to 2.4m units, but volumes of 2.13m for the main Toyota brand lifted it above Chevrolet to become the #2 seller in the US. The Camry was surpassed as Toyota's top-selling model for the first time in 28 years by the RAV4 compact SUV. FCA sales fell 8% to 2.04m, as a 2% increase for Ram was offset by near-20% declines for Fiat and Chrysler, and 10% and 12% slides for Jeep and Dodge. Honda and Nissan both claimed best-ever sales in the US at 1.64m and 1.59m respectively, but Hyundai and Kia were down for the year by 13% and 9% respectively. That allowed Suburu to overtake Kia for the #9 position among US autos with a 6% increase to a best-ever 648k units. Mercedes-Benz retained its crown as the top-selling luxury brand at 375k.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2017: Following their victory over Volkswagen Group, US regulators have now turned their attention to other manufacturers, with Fiat Chrysler first on their list of target. Late last week the Environmental Protection Agency accused FCA of violating emissions limits in more than 100,000 diesel-powered Dodge and Jeep vehicles sold in the US since 2014. According to the EPA, 3.0 litre models of both vehicles carry engine management software similar to Volkswagen's which can disguise emissions levels in certain conditions. The potential fine could be as high as $4.6bn, said the agency. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne denied the company had deliberately tried to defeat the emissions testing process and has agreed to work with the EPA to resolve the situation. Fiat Chrysler's US share price plunged by as much as 18% following the EPA's accusation.
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