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Chrysler’s market share likely to improve this month

by Bill Cawthon on

Though sales remain under pressure, new incentives, better credit terms and a shift to light trucks caused by low gas prices should give Chrysler a larger piece of the U.S. light vehicle market for January. That’s the word, according to Chrysler Vice-Chairman Jim Press.

In a meeting with reporters, Press said, “We’re starting to gain some traction with our products.”

In other comments, Press said Chrysler could survive even if 2009 U.S. light vehicle sales are in the 10 million-unit range, in line with the projections of numerous analysts who see the U.S. economy remaining weak through most of the year. He said the company will need the remaining $3 billion in federal loans that were part of Chrysler’s original request for $7 billion and he is hopeful the government will accept the automaker’s plan for achieving long-term viability when it is presented on February 17.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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