Ford and Chrysler Rack Up Strong Gains in 2011

Ford said its sales remained strong in December to give it an 11% rise for the year, while Chrysler reported a 26% gain for 2011.

Ford on Jan. 4 said its sales remained strong in December to give it an 11% rise for the year, while Chrysler reported a 26% gain for 2011.

Ford sales hit 2.15 million vehicles last year, helped by a solid 10% rise in December over 12 months earlier.

"The year finished on a high note, with industry sales momentum strengthening as the year came to a close," said Ken Czubay, vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service.

Chrysler, the No. 3 U.S. automaker, reported that U.S. sales in December jumped 37% from a year earlier to the highest monthly level since May 2008.

For all of 2011, Chrysler sold 1.37 million vehicles, an increase of 26% from 2010.

"We were the fastest-growing automaker in the country, increasing our market share 1.3 percentage points during 2011," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler's head of U.S. sales.

Italy's Fiat has been steering Chrysler since the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker emerged from a government-supported bankruptcy in June 2009, gradually building up its stake after buying shares from the U.S. Treasury.

Chrysler swung into profit in third-quarter 2011.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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