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Fiat’s Chrysler Says Global Vehicle Sales Rose 24% Last Month

Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne
Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne. Photographer: Giuseppe Aresu/Bloomberg

Chrysler Group LLC, the U.S. automaker operated by Fiat SpA, said global auto sales in March rose 24 percent from a year earlier while growth outside of North America slowed from February.

Global deliveries climbed to 164,092 vehicles last month, Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler said in an e-mail. Worldwide sales this year through March rose 18 percent to 393,879, below the 32 percent growth rate that Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has targeted for this year.

Marchionne is pushing Chrysler to sell 2 million vehicles this year and turn its first annual net profit since emerging from bankruptcy reorganization in 2009. Chrysler expects growth outside of North America to accelerate as more of new or redesigned models arrive in Europe, Mike Manley, head of international operations, said in an interview yesterday.

“I’m looking for the rate of growth to pick up,” he said.

Sales outside of North America rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier to 13,996 in March, Ralph Kisiel, a Chrysler spokesman, said in an e-mail. That’s slower than the 8.6 percent gain in non-North American sales the company posted in February.

Kisiel declined to specify non-North American sales by regions as Chrysler did for January and February results.

Chrysler’s best-selling vehicle outside North America in March was the Jeep Wrangler with 2,256 deliveries, Ann Smith, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

First-quarter sales outside of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. rose 3.5 percent from a year earlier to 36,911.

“I’ve been very pleased with the way international sales have developed,” Manley said.

Sales in Canada rose 7.7 percent last month to 20,971 and 17 percent to 7,395 in Mexico, Kisiel said. The company previously reported U.S. sales rose 31 percent to 121,703.

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