2011 Auto Sales, Briefly

A quick comment.

A quick comment. Many companies set records this past year, ranging from, say, Kia and the affordable end of things and Audi at the more-dear. By and large, companies one after the other showed significant improvement from last year. Toyota and Honda showed a decline, but let’s not forget about the tsunami and earthquake of last March and the consequence on vehicle production for those companies. (And with 308,510 Camrys sold in 2011, it is probably still the best-selling car.)

One company is worth of especial note: Chrysler. (Or, more precisely, Chrysler Group LLC).

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No, not the completely whacky number—December 2011 sales of the Jeep Compass were up 1,035% vs. December 2010 sales—but a series of numbers that show some underlying strength.

Remember 2009, when Chrysler was all but given up for dead?

Consider this:

--For 2010, Chrysler Group sales were 1.37-million units. That is 26% better than 2010 sales. The largest percentage sales gain for any full-line manufacturer.

--Through December Chrysler Group posted 21 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains.

--Jeep brand sales, up 41% in December, had its best monthly sales performance since December 2007.

--Dodge Charger had its best December sales since 2007.

--Ram pickup: the best sales month since March 2008.

--Chrysler brand sales were their best since August 2008.

Note how these are cases where you go into the heart of when the U.S. auto industry began its plunge, and how Chrysler has recovered so robustly.

And there were those who nearly gave it up for dead.

Resilience, thy name is Chrysler.