Chrysler's U.S. Sales Drop 42% in September

Credit markets remain tight and consumer confidence is tenuous

Even though Chrysler managed to increase its market share from August, when sales fell 15%, its U.S. sales dropped 42% in September.

Chrysler, which temporarily shuttered its factories while it restructured under bankruptcy protection earlier this year, said its sales were hit by low inventory levels on popular models.

Overall industry sales were also weak in the wake of the expiration of the popular government-funded "Cash for Clunkers" program which sparked nearly 700,000 auto sales by offering owners of old gasoline guzzlers up to $4,500 toward a new, more efficient vehicle.

"While we had some bright spots in September, it was still a challenging sales environment for the industry," said Peter Fong, lead executive for Chrysler's sales organization. "We believe the remainder of 2009 will continue to be a challenge for the U.S. automotive market," he said.

"Credit markets have thawed slightly, but still remain tight, and consumer confidence, as we saw in September, is tenuous."

Total sales were down 42% at 62,197 in September and 30% at 715,516 for the year to date.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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