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Taking a SWOT at Sales

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Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats.

Those are the fundamental elements of a SWOT analysis, which is sometimes deployed in companies to figure out what they’re good at, not so good at, what they might do, and what they need to watch out for.

Last week, the OEMs reported how they were doing in terms of sales for October.

So on this edition of “Autoline After Hours,” John McElroy, Joe White of the Wall Street Journal, Scott Burgess of Motor Trend and I take a SWOT at how some of the OEMs did.


The Cherokee’s sales are going in one direction: Up.

Take Chrysler Group, for example:

  • Strength: Jeep. Up 46% for the year, with 571,585 units sold. (Cherokee is doing remarkably well, with 147,733 sold so far, and given that the other vehicles in the lineup are doing well, too, it isn’t like there is cannibalization.)
  • Weakness: Cars. The Chrysler 200 is -22% for year, the Chrysler 300 -9%, the Dodge Dart -5%, the Dodge Charger -3%, and the Dodge Challenger -3%
  • Opportunities: Cars.
  • Threat: The 2015 Ford F150. That is, Ram sales are up 23%, and total sales this year of the pickup are 359,702, which represents 63% of Jeep sales for the Ram pickup alone. The EcoDiesel version is widely hailed for its fuel efficiency. But what if the F-150 comes in at a lower price point with equal-to or better-than fuel efficiency?

So White addresses some of the key business considerations for Chrysler (and the other companies we talk about). Burgess knows cars and trucks exceedingly well, so he is able to address the sheet metal portion of the business. And McElroy has bridging knowledge that accommodates both positions. (E.g., he suggests, for example, that given the poor performance of the Dart, which he considers to be an outlier in a brand that is positioning itself as a “performance” brand, the Dart ought to be moved over to the Chrysler side of the house, and reconfigured to become the Chrysler 100.)

In addition to the SWOT, we take a look at the melee at the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500, the economics of Formula One, and much more.

You can check it out here:

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