Stellantis is off to a stellar start.
The newly formed automotive conglomerate on Tuesday reported a $7 billion profit during its first half-year of existence despite losing 700,000 units of production due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage.
Stellantis, which includes the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands, has updated its projected full-year operating profit margin from 5.5%-7.5% to 10% on the back of the strong result.
North America delivered a 16.1% margin during the first half on the back of the highest average transaction prices among mainstream brands, which reached $46,000 and $48,000 in the U.S. in May and June.
RAM pickup prices led the way at an average of $49,000, the Jeep Wrangler had its best first-half retail sales ever and the new Jeep Wrangler 4xe has been the bestselling plug-in hybrid since it went on sale in March. Even one of the automaker's oldest models is having a banner year.
The Dodge Durango SUV posted 31,000 retail sales through the first six months of the year, its best showing since 2005 and a record for the current generation of the model, which first went on sale in 2011.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares credited its performance on the "clear positioning of this brand," which is currently focused on vehicles with a muscular style and includes the Dodge Challenger and Charger.
The Durango has received several updates over the years to bring it more in line with this philosophy, including the introduction this year of the $75,000 Durango SRT Hellcat, which at 710 hp is the world's most-powerful SUV. Dodge originally planned to build just 2,000 of them, but demand was so strong that it increased the allocation by 50%.
"There is high demand for horsepower," Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis recently said during an appearance on The Fox Garage.
"It’d be crazy to think five years ago that we’d be selling eight hundred and seven hundred horsepower cars right off the showroom floor, but people can’t get enough of them."
The Durango SRT Hellcat is set to be discontinued after this year due to increasingly stringent emissions rules, and the entire model line is expected to be replaced by an all-new model soon. Dodge hasn't yet confirmed what's in store, but during its first-half earnings call revealed that a plug-in hybrid Dodge model will be launched in 2022, which could be a Durango that shares its platform with the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe.