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Chrysler has ambitious plans in Germany

German sales network will be expanded to around 200 locations

Berlin. The Chrysler group aims to sell 200,000 cars a year in Europe before the end of the decade.

"We plan to double our unit sales in Europe by 2009," said Thomas Hausch, DaimlerChrysler's executive director international sales and marketing.

The Chrysler group is so bullish because it plans to increase the number of models it offers to 18 from 13 by 2007. Part of the model offensive will come from the Dodge brand, which will start sales in Europe during the first half of 2006.

Another key to reaching the sales goal is that the D/C division, which includes the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, is increasing its number of sales outlets in Germany to almost 200 from 180.

Hausch said the Chrysler group wants to be represented in smaller markets -- Duisburg, Pforzheim, Trier and Zwickau to name a few -- now that it has the most important locations covered.

"I believe that our market share in Germany will be 1.4 percent by 2009." Hausch says.

Last year, the Chrysler group's share in Germany was 0.6 percent, or 19,460 units, of which 13,209 were Chryslers and 5,441 were Jeeps. The two brands combined to sell about 100,000 units in Europe last year.

Though nearly half of the Chrysler group's sales locations in Germany also sell Mercedes-Benz models, Hausch said steps are taken to give each brand its own space.

He said the Chrysler group brands should be able to carry out their business in their own buildings that have separate entrances and customer parking lots.

Synergies with Mercedes dealers will be in the shared use of administration offices, cafeterias and car washing installations.

While hopes are high for the future, Hausch has a less ambitious goal for 2005: "It would be a job well done if we manage to more or less stabilize our market share in Germany and western Europe."

The reason for Hausch's fear is that the Jeep brand will likely experience a sales drop this year because the Grand Cherokee's successor will not go on sale throughout Europe until this summer.

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