Chrysler small cars, Jeep crossovers are hot

bwernle@crain.com

Although Chrysler LLC's small cars are its hottest sellers, the company is not considering restoring a third shift at its Belvidere, Ill., factory, a spokes-man says. The third shift stopped in early March.

For the first four months of 2008, U.S. sales of the Dodge Caliber have risen 10 percent compared with 2007, to 40,156.

The Jeep Patriot crossover, which was just arriving in dealerships a year ago, was up 304.6 percent to 23,596 for the first four months.

Jeep Compass crossover sales dropped 12.4 percent to 13,204, but Chrysler executives say they're still encouraged because the Compass is the company's second-largest seller outside North America behind the Caliber.

“Dodge Caliber, the Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass all told were up 16 percent over last year” in the United States in April, said Steven Landry, Chrysler executive vice president for North American sales.

Landry was citing retail sales only; Chrysler declined to break out the actual numbers.

The three vehicles are Chrysler's best in terms of gas mileage. The Compass and Patriot both have an EPA mileage rating of 23 mpg city and 28 mpg highway; the Caliber is rated at 24 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. c

You can reach Bradford Wernle at bwernle@autonews.com
Tags: Retail

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