The biggest gaining auto brand in car-happy California may come as a surprise.
It’s Chrysler. The brand more than doubled sales for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year. The Chrysler Group’s other main brands also saw strong gains in the Golden State: Jeep was sixth with a 34.6% increase and Dodge was 11th with 23.5%, according to the California Auto Outlook, published by the California New Car Dealers Association. The findings come from data from Experian Automotive.
Sure, there are 50 states and California is only one, but it just happens to be the nation’s largest auto market.
Of course, Chrysler’s gain is largely a reflection that it had farther to come back. It is only now rebuilding a small-car lineup in a state that led the nation in adoption of small cars, and when Chrysler was in the depths of its bankruptcy reorganization, driving one was largely uncool in trend-crazed California.
Still, the comeback is impressive. The report says that among leading models in individual categories, Chrysler Group made strong showing with the Dodge Charger, followed by Chrysler 300 in the large midsize category; Jeep Grand Cherokee is fourth in midsize SUV and Fiat 500 is fourth among the smallest of small cars.