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Chrysler Signals Shift in Sales From SUVs to Smaller Vehicles

August 8, 2002

The head of DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, signaling an important shift, says he wants to refocus Chrysler on passenger cars, according to the Wall Street Journal.Tilting Chrysler's future product program toward cars, at least in the medium term, would mark a change in direction for the third-largest player in the U.S. car market. From the mid-1980s, Chrysler was the most aggressive among Detroit's Big Three in moving its customers out of cars and into light trucks, minivans and sport-utility vehicles.In a speech to an industry conference, Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said two-thirds of the 21 new or restyled models Chrysler plans to launch during the 2003 to 2005 model years will be passenger cars. The models will be critical to Chrysler's goal of increasing its annual sales by one million vehicles a year, or more than 40 percent from 2001 levels, over the next five to 10 years, he said, according to the Journal.
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