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May 2017 Sales For FCA: Down 1%, But Wait!

|Includes: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCAU)

This article was first published on or about June 2, 2017, on my Seeking Alpha Marketplace site, where subscribers get early access to many of my articles. You can view these articles here: https://seekingalpha.com/author/anton-wahlman/premium-articles

FCA (NYSE:FCAU) reported U.S. May 2017 month sales:

http://media.fcanorthamerica.com/newsrelease.do?id=18318&mid=1

FCA overall was down 1% in May on an un-adjusted basis, a lot less than the 7% decline year to date, but there are some wild swings beneath the surface that makes this number not as interesting as it looks. Some things are actually up a lot.

Minivans, for example! The Chrysler Pacifica was up 325% to 11,720 units. The ancient Dodge Caravan was up 58% to 13,786 units. That is an amazing statistic that should really tell you something.

It's also the main reason Dodge was up 8% overall. Strong performances by Durango and Journey also helped.

Jeep was down 15%, in part as a result of the shift to the all-new Compass that just started arriving in dealerships. However, the weakness is broader than that, especially considering a 15% decline in Renegade and 24% in the Cherokee. Those are almost alarming trends.

Arguably most importantly for FCA overall this month yet again was the RAM pickup truck, which defied industry trends and was up 16%. It's now up 8% for the year. Then consider that an all-new RAM pickup truck is less than a year away, with the new production line in Sterling, MI, open for business in the March 2018 quarter.

Fiat continues its seemingly never-ending decline. 16% this quarter and 14% year to date. No end in sight, despite the 500x being basically a rebranded Jeep Renegade with an European city flair.

Alfa Romeo sales saw another monthly increase, clocking 883 Giulia sales, up from 634 last month. So far this year, 2,482, which is… well, something.

The May 2017 results from FCA prove the benefits of the portfolio approach: The largely insignificant 1% decline masks huge swings under the surface. It's not obvious where this goes in the coming months, but on the whole, May was not as bad as it might have seemed, for FCA.

Disclosure: I am/we are long F, GM, GOOGL.

Additional disclosure: At the time of submitting this article for publication, the author was long GM, F and GOOGL. However, positions can change at any time. The author regularly attends press conferences, new vehicle launches and equivalent, hosted by most major automakers.