Auto Sales Rise

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Chrysler says its U.S. auto sales rose a sharp 26 percent over the past year, as the revamped company introduced new products and customers were encouraged by signs of an economic recovery.

Wednesday's report from the third-largest U.S.-based Automaker says it sold just under 1.4 million vehicles in 2011.

Last week, Ford Motor Company said its 2011 sales already exceeded two million units, so the firm is expected to report strong sales gains later Wednesday when it totals up results for the year.

Rising sales for 2011 are a major improvement over 2009, when sales hit a 30-year low in the midst of the worst recession in decades. Washington used emergency loans to bail out Chrysler and rival General Motors.

The financial crisis prompted U.S. auto companies to severely cut costs, streamline production, and introduce new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Analysts say December's overall sales pace probably rose to a 13.4 million vehicle annual rate. If that proves correct when other car firms report sales later Wednesday, it would mean that cars are selling at an annual rate nearly one million units higher than in 2010.

A study earlier this week said global auto sales will grow nearly 7 percent in 2012, helped by strong gains in China and some other emerging markets. The study says world wide auto sales will probably hit 77.7 million this year.