US: Dodge sales falter even as Hellcats brings in more customers image

Deliveries of the Dodge brand have slumped almost 16 percent this year even as the overall auto market in the US is poised to bring record sales levels.

The marquee, belonging to the third largest US automaker and world’s seventh biggest – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – has seen the steep decline when all things considered the market is booming, and while it has also counted on rising sales and better brand image thanks to the strong demand for the Hellcat versions of the Challenger and Charger models. Tim Kuniskis, chief executive officer of the brand, believes the brand is actually delivering a stronger performance than its sales figures showcase. Dodge has sold 294,791 cars and SUVs so far this year while during the first seven months of 2014 it had already delivered more than 350,000 units. The executives says the decline can be attributed to the axing of one of its nameplates – the Avenger – and the expected slide of the Grand Caravan minivan. The latter’s issues stem from the lower inventory at hand as the carmaker has closed down its Windsor Assembly factory for more than a quarter to upgrade the facility for the new generation model.

“Right now, I am down…about 55,000 units year-over-year, and that significant,” Kuniskis said. “But out of the 55,000 units about 45,000 of that are (because of the loss of) Avenger.” He says the steep fall is also accountable to the brand’s complete makeover – it will morph from one selling cars, trucks and SUVs into a smaller nameplate that revolves around its mucle and performance cars for the bulk of deliveries.