The rocky rollout of the redesigned Ram pickup has weighed on FCA Canada sales as dealers battle tight inventory and competitors’ aggressive incentives.
Compared to last year, FCA Canada’s sales through August are down 14 per cent to 168,233 units. Automakers are set to report September sales next week.
Except for Jeep, all brands recorded year-over-year declines. FCA’s troubles stood in contrast to the rest of the Canadian market, which was down 0.4 per cent on the year to 1.4 million units. It was one of only four automakers to record a year-to-date sales decline and the only one to have a sales dip of more than two per cent.
In effect, FCA was responsible for much of the country’s decline in new-vehicle sales in the first two-thirds of 2018.
Much of the fall can be attributed to the Ram brand, which has struggled this year despite having a redesigned pickup to sell in a market that heavily favours pickups and other light trucks. Ram brand sales were down 16 per cent through August to 64,632 units, as pickup sales dipped 16 per cent to 61,217 units. Ram pickups are FCA’s top-selling vehicle in Canada and accounted for about 38 per cent of all FCA Canada sales.
Jason Vega, new-car sales manager at Winnipeg Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram-Fiat, said Ram sales have disappointed in part due to supply issues.
“I think we’re going to do much better once we get this redesign fully rolled out. It’s just one of those things where we’re trying to make the transition into our newer products and I think we’ve seen some lackluster sales as a result,” he said. “It’s just one of those things that becomes a bit more frustrating because you hope these things land at the same time so you can have the entire product line to display.”