US: Chrysler export sales set quarter record
Chrysler March international markets sales of 24,032 units, up 7% year on year, outside North America was a monthly record.
Buoyed by new products such as the redesigned Chrysler Voyager (Town and Country in the US) minivan and Sebring sedan/cabriolet, first quarter 2008 sales rose 9% to a record 57,346 units.
European sales, which account for slightly more than half of Chrysler's sales outside North America, increased 4% in the first quarter. Italy was the highest volume export market with sales up 15% year-to-date to 6,170 units.
The UK, where the managing director was recently replaced by a predecessor recalled from China, had its best first quarter sales (5,609 units), an increase of 10%, and outsold all other markets during March.
Russia is the company's highest-growth European market with sales up 94% year-to-date to 2,139 units, establishing a quarterly record.
In Asia, China Q1 sales more than doubled (4,839 units), the greatest percentage increase of any volume market. March sales of 2,652 units nearly quadrupled.
Chrysler said much of this growth was due to incremental sales of the locally-built Sebring, which was launched last month and sold over 1,000 units - accounting for 22% Q1 sales.
Jeep sales rose 11% (22,699 units) while Dodge was up 46% (17,371 units). But Chrysler sales fell 15% (17,276 units) though volumes of the new Sebring sedan and cabriolet models grew exponentially compared to the previous model.
Q1 sales of the redesigned Sebring (nearly 3,000 units) increased four and half times the volume reached by the previous model.
The top selling Q1 model outside North America was the C-segment Dodge Caliber, a 'right-sized' hatchback that contests a hard-fought segment in Europe dominated by the likes of Ford's Focus, VW's Golf and Detroit rival GM's Opel/Vauxhall Astra.