Chrysler ramps up SUV production

This week Chrysler will hire more than a 1,000 new employees to work at an assembly plant in Detroit, as the automaker faces growing demand for its sports utility vehicles.

This week, Chrysler will hire more than a 1,000 new employees to work at an assembly plant in Detroit.  Even though gas isn’t what you’d call “inexpensive,” the automaker faces growing demand for its sports utility vehicles.

Americans are mostly buying smaller, fuel-efficient cars, but David Cole, with the Center for Automotive Research, says bigger vehicles are still popular.

“There’s always people that, well, whatever the price of fuel, they’re going to want to drive what they want to drive,” he says.

According to Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com, plenty of consumers say that they need an SUV, that a compact car just won’t cut it.

“They need to tow a boat, or they need to tow a trailer, or they need the four-wheel-drive to go into the mountains or deal with the snow,” Krebs says.

Chrysler is hiring more workers to build Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees. Sales of that SUV were up 19 percent in September. Krebs says Chrylser has redesigned both vehicles, and they are “not the SUVs of a decade ago.”

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is more fuel-efficient. Chrysler says it gets about 23 miles per gallon on the highway, and Krebs says, it rides more like a car.

About the author

David Gura is a senior reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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