Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Global sales of Belvidere-built line hit high note


May marked the best month yet for sales of the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot, the three fuel-efficient vehicles assembled at Chrysler LLC’s plant in Belvidere.

According to Chrysler, dealers sold 36,555 Calibers, Compasses and Patriots in May, helped undoubtedly by the shift by buyers to more fuel-efficient vehicles that surging gasoline costs have prompted.

The total topped March’s previous high of 34,495, and dealers are on pace to sell more than 375,000 of the models built in Belvidere. Last year, dealers sold 294,894 globally. With more than 2,700 workers, the Chrysler plant is the Rock River Valley’s largest manufacturing employer.

May also marked the sixth straight month sales have surpassed production levels. In May, Belvidere workers turned out 27,272 of the trio, led by the completion of 13,351 Dodge Calibers. It’s the highest total since the company eliminated a third shift in early March.

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