Fiat’s new Chrysler turns to Dodge for sales goals

2011 Dodge Durango Crew

Chrysler is putting a lot behind its Dodge brand of trucks to help bolster U.S. sales by as much as 45% in 2011. Dodge sales have increased over the past year, but 40% of those sales were to corporate, government, and rental customers The new models are designed with the retail customer in mind.

“We have nameplates that are still romantically powerful,” Ralph Gilles, head of the Dodge brand said. “If you take those names, take care of them, market them, improve them, they will do well.”

The new Dodge lineup will include the Avenger sedan, Grand Caravan minivan, Journey SUV, and Challenger muscle car, and Durango truck. The changes will include some complete redesigns (Challenger and Durango), and some mid-cycle modifications. The company also plans to get back into the leasing business in a big way, as resale values are expected to improve. This year Chrysler”s lease rate was 11%, versus an industry average of 21%.

Stay tuned later today as we bring you live photos of Dodge’s 2011 lineup from the 2010 LA Auto Show.

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)