CEO Chrysler: We need 18% jump in U.S. sales to profit image

Chrysler Group LLC can be profitable this year if its sells 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. and 1.65 million worldwide, CEO Sergio Marchionne said.

Those sales targets represent an 18 percent improvement over Chrysler’s 2009 U.S. sales and a 27 percent jump from last year’s global total, both tall orders given that most industry leaders say they expect U.S. sales to rise about 10 percent this year to 11.5 million.

The difficulty is heightened by the timing of Auburn Hills-based Chrysler’s new product launches that won’t have much impact until the second half of the year.

Marchionne, speaking last week at the media preview for the North American International Auto Show, also opened the door slightly to the possible reinstatement of a few of the 789 dealers it terminated last June as part of its bankruptcy exit plan.

“I think we’re willing to engage in a dialog with dealers that were not renewed with Chrysler,” Marchionne said.