Chrysler Hit Sales Milestone In October

Chrysler is again in the news — not for political reasons, but because the Detroit automaker is selling cars. A lot of them. The automaker had it best October sales in five years.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Chrysler sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Chrysler is again in the news. Today it's not for political reasons, but because the Detroit automaker is selling cars, a lot of them. Chrysler had it best October sales in five years. And Automotive magazine has named Chrysler's CEO its man of the year.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: When auto industry people talk about Chrysler's CEO Sergio Marchionne, they tend to gush.

REBECCA LINDLAND: Sergio is such a rock star. You know, I mean I compared him to Justin Bieber the other day.

(LAUGHTER)

GLINTON: Rebecca Lindland is director of research at IHS Automotive. Lindland says Marchionne has improved Chrysler in almost every category - quality, marketing and sales. Sales at the Chrysler brand are up 47 percent. Jeep sales are up 18 percent.

LINDLAND: The company defies expectations, and has managed to put up some incredible numbers, year-to-date.

GLINTON: Chrysler's profits went up 80 percent last quarter. Lindland says other carmakers can't really follow the company's blueprint for its recent success because well, there isn't one.

LINDLAND: Car making is like falling in love. There is no formula, despite what eHarmony will tell you. You know, there is no explanation for it, oftentimes, of why consumers will pick a certain car.

GLINTON: Lindland says consumers are fickle. It's not enough for Chrysler to have a good year. The real test is for Chrysler to have a good decade.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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