Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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May spells good news for Chrysler…June, not so much


June 7, 2010
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Chrysler Canada saw a 53 percent jump in May sales compared to the same period last year. Unfortunately, June is not off to as good a start as the auto giant was forced to recall close to 600,000 vehicles.

The recall, which primarily affects the 2007 to 2010 Jeep Wrangler, is reportedly due to problems emerging from sticky accelerators and doors that could potentially catch fire, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffice Safety Administration. About 30,000 Canadian Jeep Wranglers are subject to the recall.

The news comes in contrast to last week’s announcement that saw the company celebrate an unexpected spike in sales, due largely to a doubling of Windsor-built minivans, as well as "best-ever results" for the Dodge Journey, Ram pickup, Jeep Wrangler and the Brampton-assembled Dodge Challenger. All three Detroit automakers are outpacing the 8.4 per cent average increase in sales by all manufacturers in the country since the start of the year.

The May results marked the sixth straight month of year-over-year growth for the company. Minivan sales continued to skyrocket, nearly doubling last year’s pace with 5,773 vehicles sold in May, the company said. The Dodge Grand Caravan — the No. 2-selling vehicle in the country and Chrysler’s highest-selling model — posted a sales increase of 87.2 percent in May. Demand for the Chrysler Town and Country was up 158.4 percent.

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Chrysler is hoping some imminent good news will soon erase the negative PR that’s arisen from the recalls. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says the Italian automaker is still deciding whether it will build Fiat cars at Chrysler’s Brampton, Ont. plant as the company looks at North American expansion. The company is launching a new platform for the Chrysler 300 sedan this year and could use it to build Fiat vehicles in North America.

Marchionne said he expects 2010 "will be a much better year than we originally forecast." He predicted total U.S. vehicle sales will top 11 million this year and 12 million in 2011 — "good volumes to try and build a car business on."