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Did Jeep and Ram Help or Hurt Fiat Chrysler in July?

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July auto sales in the US

Previously in this series, we discussed the July sales data of the top two US automakers, General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor (F). The data shows how GM has been cutting its less profitable fleet sales for the past several quarters and focusing more on retail vehicle sales to boost its margins.

Another auto giant that is highly dependent on the US auto market is Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU). In this part of our series, we’ll look at Fiat Chrysler’s July 2016 sales performance in the US market.

FCAU was formed in 2014 after the merger of Italian automaker Fiat SpA and American auto giant Chrysler. The company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on October 13, 2014.

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Fiat Chrysler’s July sales

In July 2016, Fiat Chrysler reported a 5% YoY (year-over-year) increase in its Jeep and Ram brand pickup truck sales in the US. The company’s overall US sales remained stable during the month with a 0.3% YoY increase to 180,727 vehicle units.

Notably, Jeep and Ram are the key strengths of Fait Chrysler’s portfolio. The two brands have helped the company maintain its position in the US pickup truck segment, where Ford and GM represent two of the biggest competitors.

Balance between retail and fleet sales

Just like Ford, Fiat Chrysler’s retail sales fell by 2% YoY to 155,885 vehicle units. Its fleet sales inched up by 22% YoY to 24,842 units. As noted earlier in this series, in the auto industry, fleet sales tend to have lower margins than retail vehicle sales have, and so the lower retail sales in July 2016 could have a negative impact on Fiat Chrysler’s 3Q16 margins.

Notably, Fiat Chrysler has a bad reputation for having low profit margins. Among its peers (XLY), which includes GM, Ford, and Volkswagen (VLKAY), Fiat Chrysler’s margins are the lowest.

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