Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY
Sales for Chrysler Group last month were up 4% over February 2011 and the best February showing in five years, the company reported early Friday.
The Dodge brand led the pack, with a 30% sales increase -- largest of any of the company's brands, Chrysler said. Ram truck and Fiat also posted sales increases. In fact, eight of the company's models had record-setting months.
Reid Bigland, Chrysler's U.S. sales chief, said the particularly strong month came despite of what he called "a cautious ramp up of some of our most popular products," which limited inventory.
"Looking ahead, we expect to get our inventory gaps corrected over the next 90 days resulting in additional products contributing to our growth," said Bigland.
Among the highlights:
• Dart small car had its best sales month since its launch last June, an 8% increase.
• Dodge Challenger muscle car set an all-time sales record; up 34% in February.
• Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan posted a February sales record with a 52% sales leap. Dodge Journey full-size crossover set a February sales record; up 21%.
• Dodge Durango sales were up 38%; the best February sales since 2006.
• Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan sets sales record for the month of February with 18% increase.
• Ram pickup truck sales up 3%; best February sales since 2007
Jeep brand sales appeared to be the only disappointment. Sales plummeted 16% in February, which Chrsyler said was due to the August end of Jeep Liberty production and launches for the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee, which will replace the Liberty, and the Jeep Compass and Patriot.
Still, the Patriot did set a February record with its 24% gain and Compass sales up 36%; which was the model's best February sales in six years.