Chrysler sets new sales target image

The Chrysler Group is looking at another sales increase in January, according to the company’s US top sales executive.

Reid Bigland, head of sales for the Chrysler Group, said during an interview at the North American International Auto Show that Chrysler expects to chalk up another sales increase this month.

“We think we’ll have our 46th (consecutive) monthly sales increase in January,” Bigland said. “The steady increase in sales for Jeep Cherokee is providing Chrysler with a lift.”

Chrysler has set a goal of selling 2 million vehicles this year. It sold 1.8 million last year, even though the critical Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, was undergoing a major overhaul for much of the year. Bigland acknowledged reaching 2 million units is a tall order. “We’re going to try,” he said, adding Chrysler’s sales position will benefit from the introduction of the new Chrysler 200 and new commercial vehicles.

While some automakers were more cautious than other, Chrysler and other large automakers expect sales to exceed 16 million units as the US economy picks up momentum this year. Autos and housing are now helping drive the US economy, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve.

Chrysler Group chief executive officer also said he would not be surprised if new vehicles sales began to level off, echoing earlier comments from Jim Lentz, Toyota’ top executive in North America.