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Chrysler Sales Up 20 Percent

Domestic auto sales of Chrysler Corp. surged 20 percent in October, as consumers took advantage of generation-low interest rates.

Sales of cars jumped 27 percent to 67,359 and sales of vans, trucks and sport-utility vehicles climbed 17 percent to 158,820. Analysts were expecting an overall gain of 21 percent.

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The No. 3 U.S. automaker, which reports monthly sales before General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F), saw purchases of mid-sized sedans and light trucks, including the new Dodge Durango, drive sales level higher.

Chrysler (C) sold 17,683 Durangos, a 25 percent increase over last month and an all-time monthly high for the vehicle. The previous high was 13,111.

"Sales continue to be very strong, and consumers don't appear to be reading consumer confidence reports," said James Holden, executive vice president of sales and marketing, referring to data showing that Americans are less optimistic about the health of the U.S. economy.

The monthly results are expected to be the last for Chrysler, whose purchase by Germany's Daimler-Benz AG (DAI) is expected to conclude later this month.

Daimler-Benz shareholders have until Nov. 6 to tender their shares for exchange into DaimlerChrysler shares. The companies said 97 percent of Daimler shares have already been tendered.

The companies said they've completed their organizational plans which will go into effect once they merger is completed.

"We have now decided on senior positions on the level below the management board. We are prepared for a rapid integration phase," said Juergen E. Schrempp and Robert J. Eaton, Chairmen of the Management Board of DaimlerChrysler in a statement.

In recent trading, shares of Chrysler fell 13/16 to 48 3/16. GM dipped 13/16 to 64 3/8 and Ford lost 1 1/4 to 53 3/16. Both of those companies report monthly earnings later this week.

Written By Jeffry Bartash

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