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Published: Tuesday, 11/13/2007

Toledo-built Jeeps' sales results abroad mirror those in North American market

Overseas sales of Toledo-built Jeep vehicles have mirrored those in North America.

Chrysler LLC said sales of Jeep Wranglers, including its year-old four-door stretch version, have jumped 102 percent this year, with 12,788 sales in Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

But sales of the Jeep Cherokee overseas have dropped 30 percent so for this year, to 15,654. The vehicle sold overseas as the Cherokee is the same as the Liberty sold in the United States.

The most popular Jeep brand sold overseas is the Grand Cherokee, which is made in Detroit. Still, its 25,958 units sold overseas are down 19 percent this year compared with last year.

Overall, Jeep brand sales overseas are up 15 percent, at 79,520 units, for the first 10 months of the year, Chrysler said.

The foreign sales make up 6 percent of the Detroit automaker's business, which points to the need for Chrysler to find a global partner to boost those figures, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

"This has to be done sooner and not later," he said.

The Toledo Jeep Assembly complex builds the Wranglers using on-site suppliers and Chrysler workers, and a neighboring set of factories with Chrysler workers make the Liberty and foreign Cherokee.

The Wrangler received a redesign a year ago, and production of the four-door version began. The Liberty, or Cherokee overseas, received a redesign in July and sales have been slow.

Through 10 months in North America, Wrangler sales are up 62 percent at 101,903 units and Liberty sales are down 34 percent at 75,351, Chrysler said.



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