Chrysler cuts Q4 production, mainly trucks

DETROIT -- DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit plans to cut fourth-quarter production as it tries to check a growing inventory of trucks and sport utility vehicles, a spokesman said today.

The automaker will cut fourth-quarter production, mainly of Dodge Durango SUV, as high gas prices hurt sales in that segment, said Chrysler spokesman Mike Aberlich.

Most of the cuts will be at Chrysler's Newark Dodge Durango plant in Newark, Delaware. The plant also makes the new Aspen SUV, which will not be affected, Aberlich added.

Chrysler will ramp up production of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, such as the Dodge Caliber crossover, as it aligns its products with consumer demand.

There were no details on how deep the fourth-quarter production cuts would be. Chrysler Chief Executive Tom LaSorda told some reporters about the cuts at a charity event in Auburn Hills, Michigan on Wednesday.

The automaker in July said it would cut third-quarter production by 65,000 to 75,000 units, or 10 percent of its quarterly output, to trim ballooning inventory, reduce incentive spending and react to faltering truck sales.

Chrysler also said it would launch eight new models this year -- including a version of the Jeep Wrangler, the Dodge Nitro SUV and the Chrysler Sebring sedan. LaSorda in July said the new models would allow it to reduce margin-eroding sales incentives in the fourth quarter.

Chrysler, which reported a decline in July U.S. sales of 35 percent, has been very aggressive in incentive spending this year, often outdoing its U.S. rivals. The automaker also offered deeply discounted employee-level pricing to all consumers through August.

LaSorda's comments come after Ford Motor Co. announced last week a 21-percent cut in fourth-quarter output to its lowest level in 25 years.

Ford also reduced third-quarter production as high gasoline prices continued to hurt sales of pickup trucks.

General Motors earlier this month said it would slow production of its full-size SUVs through the rest of the year. GM CEO Rick Wagoner said fourth-quarter production details would be outlined when the automaker announces August sales on Sept. 1.

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