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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Caliber to boost Chrysler

2006-05-08 10:13

Dodge Caliber will be here soon

"I think in the international business we can sell over 20 000 Calibers next year," Thomas Hausch, Chrysler's director of international sales and marketing told reporters at a presentation of the car in Spain.

Dodge is using its new Dodge Caliber - a kind of compact sporty wagon - to spearhead its push into global markets.

The five-door hatchback is being launched in the second quarter of 2006 outside of North America and will be available in around 100 overseas countries.

Hausch said over 95% of Chrysler and Jeep dealers had signed up for Dodge. Chrysler Group registrations in western Europe had risen 17 percent so far this year, he added.

Hausch also said the automaker had a budget worth "hundreds of millions of dollars" for international expansion of the Dodge nameplate over the next five years.

Dodge is positioning the US-made Caliber as a distinctive vehicle with flexible configurations, and which costs around 10% less than similarly equipped rivals in key European markets.

Hausch said there are now no plans to sell the Caliber in China, but that the company is considering expanding into Asia in a second phase.

Dodge, part of the group's U.S. arm Chrysler, accounted for 5 percent of Chrysler's overseas sales in 2005. That is expected to rise to 20 percent to 30 percent by 2009, Hausch said in February.

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