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Jeep Compass leads Chrysler gains for March

Worldwide sales of the three vehicles assembled at Chrysler Group LLC’s Belvidere assembly plant soared 57 percent in March compared with 2010, helped in large part by buyers rediscovering the Jeep Compass.

Chrysler redesigned this year’s offering of the long-maligned Compass to resemble a miniature version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In March, Chrysler dealers around the world sold 6,212 Compasses, an 82.3 percent year-over-year increase.

The Compass also outsold the Dodge Caliber for the second time in three months.

The Jeep Patriot passed the Caliber as the top-selling Belvidere vehicle in 2010.

Sales were up all over, again signs that the economic recovery is gaining steam, with sales increasing 76.7 percent in the United States, 34.4 percent in Chrysler markets outside the U.S., 32.3 percent in Mexico and 16.9 percent in Canada.

All three models are scheduled to be discontinued in 2012 to make room for Fiat-designed vehicles.

The Italian automaker manages Chrysler.

Chrysler is banking on continued sales gains, especially with the Compass.

In March, Belvidere workers turned out 25,160 vehicles, the most for any month since May 2010.

Of those, 10,990 were Compasses, the highest monthly total ever for that model, which was introduced in February 2006.

Chrysler employs about 2,400 people at its Belvidere plant, and an additional 1,700 work at supplier operations nearby.
 
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