Fiat Chrysler Built Way Too Many Cars — And Now The “Sales Blitz” Is On

FCA's "Employee Pricing Plus" campaign is still going on

This time of year usually means some pretty good deals on new cars and trucks, but Fiat Chrysler truly has a fire sale on, according to a recent Bloomberg report. The automaker is deeply discounting its 2019 models, trying to entice its 2,400 dealers to take on and sell more vehicles as its unassigned inventory swelled through the end of this year.

FCA currently has an inventory problem driven by its data-driven production strategy, which kept production plants running, but led to swelling inventory that dealers didn’t order. It reportedly accumulated a stock of 70,000 unassigned vehicles in December. The company says it’s the culmination of a new system to forecast demand using data analytics, which means supplies can wax and wane over the course of the year. Dealers told Bloomberg they’re now being prodded to take unassigned inventory from a so-called “sales bank” to deal with the overproduction issue.

On the other hand, FCA says the build-up is just a side effect of a system which saved $445 million through the third quarter of 2019. The system reportedly trimmed out 140,000 vehicles from inventory that would have otherwise sat unsold. “Our new supply chain management strategy based on predictive analytics continues to work well for us, even as we continue to refine it,” according to Niel Golightly, FCA’s global communications officer.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is currently FCA’s best-selling car.

Excess stock leads to big discounts

Automakers and dealers grappling with oversupply is nothing new, and inventory has fluctuated throughout the year. The 40,000-strong supply of unassigned cars dwindled down to 5,000 in the third quarter, then swelled to 60,000 in November and 70,000 in December, according to a person close to the situation.

New car buyers have been able to take advantage of FCA’s employee pricing discounts since November. Right now, the company is offering its most aggressive pricing since 2008, and that will likely continue through the holidays in light of the fire-sale. So if you’re looking to buy a new car right now, cars like the Jeep Cherokee or trucks like the Ram 1500 may come be available with some screaming deals.