Chrysler, the US carmaker controlled by Italy's Fiat, was the first of the big three Detroit automakers to unveil strong November sales figures, boosted by economic optimism and replacements following superstorm Sandy.
The maker of brands including Dodge, Ram and Jeep, Chrysler reported US sales 14 percent higher from November 2011 at 122,565 units. The best performer was the Fiat brand - which Chrysler distributes in the US - whose sales were 123 percent up on last November. The company gave no number for individual brands' unit sales.
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Dodge sales were up 32 percent and Ram trucks 23 percent. The core Chrysler brand, however, was up only 1 percent, while Jeep sales fell 3 percent because of the end of production of the Jeep Liberty and continuing dealership closures in parts of the US northeast affected by the storm at the end of October.
While November is typically a far quieter sales month than October, Chrysler's larger domestic rivals - General Motors and Ford - were also expected to post sales increases for the month, albeit far lower than Chrysler's. Replacements of cars lost to flooding during Sandy were expected to boost sales slightly.
US car sales have rebounded strongly since President Barack Obama oversaw a rescue of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009. Both companies cut their costs, shed debt and improved their model ranges through the process, in which they briefly entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Ford, which was able to avoid bankruptcy, also cut its costs significantly.
Monday's figures were Chrysler's strongest November sales since 2007.
Reid Bigland, the company's head of US sales, said that even against a background of fears over the fiscal cliff - a mix of tax increases and spending cuts in the new year - Chrysler was well positioned for a strong end to 2012. The company runs an annual December promotion under the name "Big Finish".
"We are expecting a strong December as the industry continues to recover from the east coast hurricane, and consumers continue to respond to our popular year-end Big Finish event," Bigland said.