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Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan see sales climb

From FREE PRESS BUSINESS | February 02,2007

DaimlerChrysler AG announced today that its U.S. sales jumped 3% in January compared to the same month last year.

The Chrysler Group saw its U.S. sales grow 1% and Mercedes-Benz saw U.S. sales jump 37% in January compared to the same month a year ago, a statement said.

Chrysler sold 156,308 vehicles, its best January in six years, and Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. sold 17,069 vehicles, its best January on record. Chrysler's Jeep sales increased 19% for the month, which the company attributed to the popularity of the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. sales rose 9.5% for January to 175,850 vehicles. The Camry and RAV4, both redesigned last year, saw sales go up 14.7% and 27.1%. Sales of the Lexus LS460, the company’s top-end luxury car, almost tripled compared to its predecessor, the LS430.

Sales of the Sienna, 4Runner and Sequoia all fell by double-digit percentages, but Toyota was able to more than make up for these losses through gains in the rest of its cars and trucks.

The biggest Japanese automaker said it was its best-ever January for Lexus sales and for Toyota division sales.

The soft spot in Toyota's month: Scion, the youth-oriented brand sold by some Toyota dealers. Sales of all three Scion models were down by more than 10%.

In other news, Nissan Motor Co. reports today that its January U.S. sales were up 8.9%, unadjusted for the number of selling days, to 82,664 in January, from 75,891 in January 2006.

Brad Bradshaw, Nissan's senior vice president for sales and marketing in North America, attributed much of the improvement to sales of the new Infiniti G35 and new Nissan Altima.

Sales of the new G35 — in its second full month of sales — are up 78% compared with sales of last year's model in January 2006 and are exceeding the company's plans, Bradshaw said.

Sales of the redesigned Altima, out since November, were up 45.5% to 24,384 in January.

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