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Auto blogMon, 03 Jun 2013 14:15:00 EST
Increasing consumer demand for Ram pickup trucks and big SUVs has helped to boost May sales for Chrysler. Ram sales were up a total of 24 percent year-over-year for the month of May. In addition, Dodge sales increased by 23 percent in May, with the standout Durango clocking a 24-percent year-over-year improvement (with an updated 2014 model in the wings, incentives are thick on the ground for 2013 inventory). Fiat and Jeep were up only a modest one percent, however, and Chrysler brand sales were down by two percent against last year's figures.
Chrysler is quite pleased overall with brand performance, saying that this May marks the company's strongest in the past six years. It was also the 38th consecutive month showing year-over-year sales gains.
Eight of the automaker's vehicles set sales records for May, as well: Jeep Wrangler and Compass, Dodge Avenger and Challenger, Fiat 500, Chrysler 200 and Ram pickups. Scroll down to read more detail in Chrysler's press release.
Chrysler has announced that it will recall roughly 490,000 vehicles around the globe due to a potential active head-restraint problem. The problem is being blamed on "potentially faulty microcontrollers" that may keep the vehicles' anti-whiplash active safety feature from working properly. Chrysler says it has no knowledge of any accidents or injuries related to the issue. Models covered under the recall include the 2011-2013 Chrysler Sebring, 200 (shown) and Dodge Avenger models, along with 2011-2013 Jeep Liberty and 2011-2012 Dodge Nitro SUVs.
Interestingly, the Pentastar notes that the faulty part came from an (unnamed) supplier who furnished the parts in the wake of Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami, natural disasters which decimated the world's supply of microcontrollers.
Chrysler says of those nearly half a million vehicles affected, around 442,000 of them reside in the US, with an additional 25,000 in Canada and 10,000 units in Mexico. A further 12,000 models were shipped beyond the NAFTA region. The Auburn Hills automaker will begin sending out recall notices shortly, and technicians will upgrade the system software or replace the microcontroller as necessary at no cost to owners.
While other automakers have been streamlining their brand portfolio, the Chrysler Group has shown no such signs. It's got the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands, plus Fiat, and it recently broke out its SRT and Ram nameplates into their own brands. And you can bet each will have its own presence at the Detroit Auto Show this year. But don't forget Mopar. The company's performance parts division is getting its own display at Cobo this year, and it'll be the largest in the brand's history.
The Mopar Custom Shop is poised to take up 5,500 square-feet of Cobo floor space, further expanding on last year's Mopar Garage. If the image above offers any indication, the show stand will include a Dodge Challenger, SRT Viper, Fiat 500L, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Ram 3500 and what looks like (but isn't identified in the press release below as) a Chrysler 200 (which may be replaced by a 2014 model), all augmented with Mopar parts and accessories.
Visitors will also be able to use pre-programmed iPads to configure Chrysler Group vehicles with a wide range of accessories - a portfolio that grows by 1,500 new parts every year and tops over 100 add-ons for every new vehicle Chrysler launches.