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Chrysler US sales climb 20 percent in July

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chrysler says its U.S. sales rose 20 percent in July from a year ago, its best performance for the month in nine years.

The automaker said Friday that it sold 167,667 vehicles in the U.S. during the month compared with 140,102 in the prior-year period.

Jeep sales surged 41 percent. That's the best July performance for the brand ever. The Fiat, Dodge and Chrysler brands also posted sales increases for the month.

The Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Compass, Dodge Dart, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Journey and Ram Cargo Van each recorded their best July sales ever. And the Fiat 500L set a new all-time monthly sales record in July.

Chrysler Group LLC, now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, said Ram pickup truck sales climbed 14 percent _ its best July results since 2005.

This is Chrysler's 52nd straight month of year-over-year sales gains.

The overall automobile market's U.S. sales have climbed 4.3 percent in the first half of the year. In June the industry had a 1.2 percent gain.

Last month Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler Group announced it was recalling older-model Jeep SUVs to fix a problem with ignition switches. It has now recalled more than 1.7 million vehicles for ignition-switch problems. General Motors has come under fire for bungling its own ignition-switch recall.

Sales at GM and the rest of the industry are expected to improve in July. Edmunds.com expects an 11.1 percent increase in total sales, with GM up 10.6 percent. When all the numbers are in late Friday, it may wind up being the industry's best July in eight years, Edmunds predicted.

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