"The continued growth of the international vehicle portfolio supports our Recovery and Transformation plan. The success of the vehicles that are now available in markets outside North America indicates that there is great growth potential for Chrysler Group," said Michael Manley, Chrysler Group Executive Vice President of International Sales, Marketing and Business Development. "Our fuel-efficient diesel and petrol engines, right-hand drive availability and multiple safety features packaged in distinct vehicle designs appeal to customers all over the world, and positions Chrysler Group as a serious global competitor."
For 2007, trends indicate that diesel engines could account for more than 75 percent of Chrysler Group sales in Western Europe by the end of the year, where overall diesel sales are higher than in many other parts of the world. This is a significant increase from diesel sales in 2005, which accounted for roughly 65 percent of the Company's Western European vehicle sales.
All regions where Chrysler Group sells vehicles saw increased sales in May. Western / Central Europe, the Company's largest volume region outside North America, grew 13 percent in May, and 11 percent year-to-date. The Middle East (including Northern Africa) market had the highest growth rate, as sales for the month increased 57 percent and year-to-date increased 61.
All three Chrysler Group brands – Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge – were represented among the top-three-selling Chrysler Group products. Dodge Caliber remained the Company's number-one-seller outside North America with 13,265 units sold in 2007 year-to-date. Jeep Grand Cherokee sales were a close second, with 13,017 units, and Chrysler Voyager / Grand Voyager sales were third with 12,358 units.
Including May sales, the Dodge brand accounted for roughly 22 percent of the Company's year-to-date sales, with only one vehicle widely available outside North America – Dodge Caliber. "As the next two Dodge products – Avenger and Nitro – make their way, in volume, into all of the markets, we see further opportunity for the brand. So far, the expansion for Dodge has been well received by both customers and dealers, and contributed to our record month of exports out of North America," said Thomas Hausch – Vice President of International Sales. "There is a lot of untapped potential here, and we expect that the brand could account for 30 percent of the Company's sales outside North America by 2009."
Chrysler Group sells and services vehicles in more than 125 countries around the world, and Chrysler Group sales outside North America currently account for approximately eight percent of the Company's total global sales. Vehicles available range across all three Chrysler Group brands, with limited availability on some trucks and SUV models. The Company's operations outside North America have been experiencing year-over-year sales increases since 2004, and will continue to increase the number of product offerings, powertrain options and RHD availability through 2007.