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Chrysler March US Sales Up 34% - Update

4/3/2012 3:28 PM ET

Chrysler Group LLC, which is majority owned by Italy-based Fiat SpA (FIATY.PK), Tuesday said its U.S. sales for the month of March rose 34 percent, as easier credit availability, higher fuel prices and improving economy drove sales of its fuel efficient cars.

Chrysler's U.S. sales rose to 163,381 vehicles from 121,730 vehicles in the same month last year. It is for the 24th consecutive month that the company has posted sales increase.

"The combination of credit availability, an improving economy, pent-up demand and even high fuel prices encouraging people to acquire newer more fuel-efficient vehicles are all helping to drive industry sales," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO - Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales.

The growth was driven mainly by strong sales of Fiat 500 - the small fuel-efficient car, Chrysler's 300 flagship sedan and 200 mid-size sedan as well as on Dodge Caravan and Avenger sport sedan.

Sales of Fiat 500, which was launched March last year, advanced to 3,712 from 500 units last year. Chrysler 300 sedan sales rose 169 percent to 7,336 units, while Chrysler 200 sedan improved 121 percent to 14,914 units year-over-year.

Dodge Avenger sales grew 57 percent to 9,362 vehicles, while Dodge Caravan and Journey improved 43 and 44 percent, respectively.

Jeep brand sales for March increased 36 percent to 45,124 units, the best sales growth for the brand since 2007. Sales of all the five vehicles in the segment increased, especially sales of Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, both posting a growth of 43 percent.

Meanwhile, the Ram truck brand also posted an 18 percent sales growth, despite the soaring gas prices. Ram pickup truck sales for March were up 23 percent year-over-year, while the new Cargo Van posted sales of 701 units.

FIATY.PK is currently trading on OTC at $5.73, down 1.88%.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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