U.S. Auto Sales: Chrysler Group sales up 44% in January image

Chrysler Group, on Wednesday said its U.S. sales rose 44 percent, to 101,149 vehicles in January.

It was the automaker’s best January in four years, and the report came on a day when Chrysler saidit had a 2011 profit of $183 million, its first annual gain since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009.

In addition, this is Chrysler’s 22nd-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains and all brands increased sales, led by an 81% hike in sales for the Chrysler brand.

Sales for the Dodge brand advanced 29% while sales for the Jeep brand gained 37%. The namesake line’s sales increased 81%.

“We started the new year with a bang by growing sales 44%,” said Reid Bigland, head of the Dodge brand and U.S. Sales.

“In January we continued building on the sales momentum that we generated during 2011 with our 16 all-new or significantly-refreshed products.”

Light-vehicle sales in January may have run at a 13.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.