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Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. auto sales tumbled 17.4% in Covid ravaged 2020

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The 2019 Jeep Gladiator

Mack Hogan | CNBC

Fiat Chrysler trimmed its fourth-quarter revenue loss, but not enough to avoid one of the auto industry’s worst declines likely for 2020.

The Italian-American automaker’s US sales fell 17.4% last year from 2019, the company said on Tuesday. Sales weren’t quite as bad in the fourth quarter, declining 7.9% year over year. This is worse than the rest of the industry, which is projected to see a 15% drop in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, once all automakers release their sales results.

Fiat Chrysler’s biggest rival in Crosstown, General Motors, reported an 11.8% drop in sales for 2020 earlier in the day, while Ford Motor is expected to report its sales on Wednesday morning. Toyota Motor reported that its US sales were down 11.2% last year compared to 2019, while Nissan Motor said its sales were down 33.2%.

According to Fiat Chrysler, the decline in sales was mainly due to lower sales to commercial fleet customers. Revenue from private customers even rose slightly by 1% in the fourth quarter. The company declined to release its retail or fleet sales for the year.

There were few bright spots for Fiat Chrysler’s sales in 2020. Italian niche luxury brand Alfa Romeo was the only division to see 1.6% growth for the year. Aside from an 8.9% increase for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio crossover and nearly doubling sales of the Jeep Gladiator pickup, every second vehicle in the automaker’s six-brand range was down for the year. Sales of its all-important Ram pickup were down 11.1% over the past year from 2019.

“The fourth quarter was a strong stepping stone into the year 2021. We expect an exciting year in the future with a multitude of new vehicles,” said Jeff Kommor, head of US sales for Fiat Chrysler, in a press release.

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