The coasts haven’t been an area of strength for American manufacturers. California in particular is a very difficult market for the domestics. Toyota, Honda and Nissan have been dominant for years. Lately, a focus on small cars and more stylish vehicles has improved fortunes for General Motors and Ford. Also, models like the Chevrolet Volt are seen as trendy and environmentally-conscious.
A particular effort has been put in at reaching these markets, and it make takes years to get where they need to be. At Chrysler, the situation has been worse, because the Chrysler Group doesn’t have the same product breadth that GM and Ford do. Wards Auto says the situation is improving though – dramatically, in fact, as sales are up by 222 percent.
We’ve been seeing a lot of the stunning 300 around, but that isn’t a very scientific analysis, is it? But let’s admit it: Chrysler brand sales have been absolutely pitiful in California. Last year, just 2,470 Chryslers were sold in the Golden State during the first three months of the year. That accounts for just 1 percent of the pie – and Cali is the largest market United States. Yikes. But, for 2012 Chrysler sales are up to 7,955 units. We don’t have figures about which model is powering ascent, or if it is fleet sales. Anyhow though, it is welcome news in California for a brand clearly needing it.
The California New Car Dealers Association reports that the overall market is up by 17.7 percent, and car sales account for 62.7 percent of the total, versus 24.4 percent for SUVs. Thank crazy gas prices for that result. We imagine Chrysler’s figures will improve even more so once small cars like the Lancia Delta (we can hope…) arrive here, along with the next-generation version of the 200. Despite being much better than the Sebring, 200 doesn’t cut it in today’s cutthroat mid-size sedan market.