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DaimlerChrysler Announces 2nd Boost in PT Cruiser Production

March 22, 2000|Reuters

The Chrysler PT Cruiser is just now reaching dealer showrooms (cover story, Highway 1, March 15), but demand is so strong for the car-truck hybrid with the retro look that DaimlerChrysler on Monday boosted production plans for the second time in three months.

DaimlerChrysler said an additional 50,000 vehicles will be built at its Graz, Austria, assembly plant starting in summer 2001, bringing annual worldwide production of the PT Cruiser to 230,000.

The vehicle, which some observers say resembles a 1930s gangster getaway car or a London taxi, is being launched in the North American market this month. DaimlerChrysler's Toluca, Mexico, plant is ramping up production and is capable of turning out 180,000 Cruisers annually.

Monday's announcement marked the second time DaimlerChrysler has raised production plans for the Cruiser this year. In January the company boosted production plans to 180,000 units annually from an original range of 100,000 to 120,000.

Since its unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 1999, the PT Cruiser has generated more excitement than any other vehicle from a Detroit auto maker in years.

The vehicle's affordability, with a base sticker price starting about $16,000, is expected to help fuel sales.

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