Chrysler Group LLC, a subsidiary of Italian Fiat SpA (Milan: F), on Wednesday reported its best July U.S. car sales since before the recession.
Detroit-based Chrysler sold 112,026 cars in July, a 13 percent increase over the year before. July was the 28th consecutive month of sales gains for the company and the best July since 2007. All of Chrysler's brands experienced sales gains with the biggest percentage increases going to the Chrysler and Fiat brands. Car sales rose 19 percent while truck sales grew a more modest 11 percent.
Moreover, Chrysler Group recently reported its quarterly operating profits rose to $755 million, its highest quarterly profits in over a decade. Chrysler has experienced a strong recovery after its 2009 bankruptcy and acquisition by Fiat.
July's sales gains were indicative of Chrysler's "disciplined and methodical approach," according to Dodge Brand President and CEO and Head of U.S. Sales Reid Bigland. In 2012, Chrysler Group has been the only profitable division of Fiat.
Chrysler brand sales rose a whopping 35 percent, mostly on strong demand for the Chrysler 300 luxury flagship sedan. Chrysler 300 sales rose 41 percent in July. Chrysler's year-to-date sales are up 69 percent. July sales of Fiat brand cars rose 22 percent, demonstrating the ongoing popularity of the Fiat 500 line of hatchbacks.
The Ram Truck, Jeep and Dodge brands posted more modest gains. Ram Truck increased sales 15 percent in July, while Jeep gained 7 percent and Dodge gained 6 percent. Jeep was Chrysler's volume leader with 41,559 vehicles sold, but the Ram pickup truck was the best selling vehicle overall with 23,824 units sold. Sales of the new 2013 Dodge Dart rose 282 percent over June as more vehicles began to arrive on dealer lots.
Chrysler Group had a 65-day supply, 341,699 vehicles, at the end of the month and projected a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 14 million.
Fiat SpA (Milan: F) shares rose 0.03 percent to €4.03 Wednesday.