Chrysler is booming in Latin America thanks to models like the Grand Cherokee and markets like Brazil and Central America.
BY CHRONICLE STAFF
Chrysler LLC, the U.S. automaker, is going full speed ahead in Latin America. Its sales in the region are growing faster than its international sales and total sales. Last year, Chrysler sold about 35,000 units in Latin America. That translates to an increase of 26 percent from 2006. By comparison, international sales grew by 15 percent and total sales by 8 percent.
"Were very happy with the results," says Eduardo Mayoral, managing director of Chrysler Latina, the division that oversees its operations in 33 countries in the Caribbean and Central- and South America. "We finished the year growing 26 percent compared with 2006. More important is that pretty much all of the markets are growing double-digit...Its not just one or two markets."
While Latin America accounts for less than 6 percent of Chrysler’s total worldwide sales, its growth is providing a welcome relief from weak markets in North America and Europe. It is also helping reduce Chrysler’s dependence on the U.S. market, which currently accounts for 80 percent of the company’s total sales. “We need to reduce the dependence on the United States by increasing our sales elsewhere,” Mayoral says.
His division does not include Mexico, where Chrysler last year sold 128,541 units - an increase of 0.1 percent from 2006. Despite the weak growth, the final result was Chryslers best since 2001.
"It ...has a good niche in the region, mainly with its Dodge and Jeep vehicles," says Juliano Alquati, a Brazil-based analyst with CSM South America. "In Brazil and Argentina...
Keywords: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dodge, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jeep, Panama, Venezuela