Small, mid-sized cars power Chrysler to 12% gain
Sales of the Fiat 500 lineup rose sharply in September, climbing 51 percent to 4,176 units.
DETROIT -- Strong sales of small and mid-sized cars propelled Chrysler Group to its best September since 2007 and its 30th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.
The automaker sold 142,041 units last month, up 12 percent from September 2011.
Car sales rose 27 percent to 42,050, while sales of light trucks climbed 6 percent to 99,991.
Through September, Chrysler Group's sales totaled 1,250,670, up 24 percent.
All of the automaker's brands posted gains in September, with Ram recording the smallest gain at 4 percent and Fiat the largest at 51 percent. Chrysler said six of its vehicles had record September sales.
"With our current product lineup, record low interest rates and a stable U.S. economy, we remain optimistic about the health of the U.S. new vehicle sales industry and our position in it," Reid Bigland, Chrysler's head of U.S. sales, said in a statement.
The Dodge Avenger recorded the largest gain last month, up 89 percent to 8,716 units. Sales of the Fiat 500 also rose sharply, climbing 51 percent to 4,176 units.
The other four setting September records were the Chrysler 200, Jeep Wrangler and Patriot, and Dodge Journey.
The new Dodge Dart posted sales of 5,235 units, up 72 percent from August. Chrysler began a nationwide advertising campaign in September for the Dart compact sedan, which launched in June. The automaker said it had an 87-day supply of Darts as its rollout continues.
Sales of Ram pickups climbed 6 percent in September to 25,973 units. Chrysler began production of its re-engineered 2013 Ram 1500 pickups last month, and will launch refreshed versions of its heavy-duty pickups and chassis cabs as 2013 models early next year. Marketing for the new pickup lineup will launch next month, Ram brand President Fred Diaz said.
The Dodge Durango crossover continued to lag the rest of Chrysler's vehicle lineup, posting a 39 percent sales decline last month to 2,986 units. The Dodge Charger and Challenger and Jeep Compass were the only other continuing vehicles in the automaker's lineup to post sales declines last month.
Chrysler said it had 369,114 units in inventory, a 65-day supply.
In Paris, Tenn., Noel Hatman, new vehicle sales manager at Peppers Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, said, "We had a real good month."
The small rural dealership sold 22 new Chrysler Group vehicles, Hatman said, including several Ram pickups, Jeep Wranglers "and a couple Darts."
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