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Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. Sales Rut

First-quarter model launches may help carmaker reverse downward trend

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has been trying to improve its bottom line by focusing on higher-margin retail sales, and it’s been working. But ending production of rental-fleet favorites like the Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Patriot has depressed total deliveries in the U.S. for more than a year, with the Italian-American automaker reporting its 14th straight month of declining sales in October. The downward trend should turn around soon: The carmaker will launch in the first quarter an all-new Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 pickup as well as a refreshed Jeep Cherokee, which should play well with drivers moving away from sedans.

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