AUBURN HILLS, MI
– Coming off consistent sales growth in global markets during 2006, the Chrysler Group announced that its global alliance strategy will enable it to bring a Taiwan-built cargo van to the Mexican market and launch production of the new Chrysler Sebring sedan in China for the local market. The announcements come just a week after the Chrysler Group confirmed a letter of intent for China’s Chery Automobile Co. to produce small vehicles that the Chrysler Group will market in the NAFTA region, European regions, and possibly other global markets.The Chrysler Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Motor Corp. (CMC) to export a cargo van to Mexico. CMC will produce this vehicle at its assembly facility in Yangmei, Taiwan. The 1,000-kg panel/cargo van built in Taiwan will be exported to the Mexican market where it will be sold as a Dodge vehicle. CMC is a long-term partner with DaimlerChrysler. CMC produces the Chrysler Town and Country minivan in Taiwan, via license, for the Taiwan market. The Chrysler Group also will produce a Chinese-market minivan via license with CMC and Fujian Motor Group in Fuzhou. Production of the new Chrysler Sebring sedan for the China market will begin later this year in Beijing at Beijing-Benz DaimlerChrysler Automotive Co. (BBDC). BBDC is a joint venture between the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd. and DaimlerChrysler.In 2006, the Chrysler Group sold 555,924 vehicles outside of the United States, an increase of 6.6 percent compared to 2005. Those figures include an increase of 1.7 percent in Canada, 3.3 percent in Mexico, and 15 percent outside of North America. Sales were boosted by the worldwide appeal of new products launched during 2006, including the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass.Chrysler Group worldwide vehicle sales decreased by 4.5 percent in 2006, to a total of 2,698,429 units (2005: 2,826,131 units). U.S. sales declined 7 percent to 2,142,505 units (2005: 2,304,833 units). Sales closed with momentum in the final quarter of 2006, as customers responded favorably to the launch of a majority of the company’s 10 all-new products for 2006. Against the overall market performance, the Chrysler Group posted sales of 190,415 units in December. This is an increase of 1 percent on an unadjusted basis compared to December 2005, when the company sold 189,449 units. On an adjusted basis, Chrysler Group U.S. sales were up by 4 percent.DaimlerChrysler Canada ended 2006 with five consecutive months of sales growth, and sales increased 1.7 percent for the year, totaling 220,553 units (2005: 216,857 units) and DaimlerChrysler remained the second-largest vehicle seller in Canada. Growth was driven by a combination of new and existing models.Sales in Mexico rose by 3.3 percent to 128,446 units (2005: 124,353 units). Products sold under the Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands posted significant sales gains during 2006 as the company continues to make headway with Mexican customers in key segments.