AUBURN HILLS, MI (TOLEDO NEWS NOW) - New auto sales numbers have been released and Chrysler is leading the pack thanks to a pair of Toledo-made vehicles.
On Monday, Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. sales of 154,866 units, an 11 percent increase compared with sales in February 2013 (139,015 units). The Jeep Wrangler sold more than 10,000 vehicles and the new Jeep Cherokee sold nearly 12,000. This was the group's best February sales since 2007.
The Chrysler, Jeep, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in February compared with the same month a year ago. The Jeep brand's 47 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand during the month. Chrysler Group also extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 47-consecutive months in February.
"The severe weather has been ideally suited for our legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, as Jeep brand sales were up 47 percent and the brand had its best February sales ever," said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales.
Yark salesmen agree weather might have played a role.
"In January, the snow held us back. So maybe there was a little bit of pin up demand, but I think it's finally starting to snowball and people are seeing the product, hearing about the reviews," said Tony Kunisch, Yark's sales manager.
Sales of the all-new Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV were up 12 percent compared with sales in the previous month of January.
"It's great. I mean, the more we sell, the more the plant operates, the more people buy. You got to keep those guys busy and keep people coming back," said Kunisch.
Yark salesmen feel Wranglers and Cherokees can compete with Lexus and BMW models because of the off-road capability, new technology, fuel economy, and sleek designs.
"Last month was a huge month, and we're going to keep that going. The idea is to keep getting the news out there about how great this product is," said Kunisch.
Six Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in February:
-Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan
-Dodge Journey mid-size crossover
-Ram pickup truck; up 26 percent, it posted its best February sales in eight years
Chrysler Group finished the month of February with an 85 days supply of inventory (546,107 units). U.S. industry sales figures for February are internally projected at an estimated 15.8 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate.
What excites salesmen about the record-breaking sales is that the Wrangler and Cherokee are assembled in Toledo.
"It's great for the economy. I mean, you have to consider, we were at a time where the plants were at lows, and now we are making more Jeeps than we can sell," explained Kunisch.
Salesmen also think the Cherokee has done so well because you still get the confidence of a Jeep product, but you get a smaller SUV, something this area needed.
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