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Monday, April 18, 2005

[font=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif][size=-1]2006 Dodge Charger[/size][/font]​

Chrysler predicts a big hit as Charger orders pile up

By Brett Clanton / The Detroit News

Chrysler may soon have another hit on its hands.

The Auburn Hills unit of DaimlerChrysler AG says it has taken 20,000 orders and identified 85,000 potential buyers for the 2006 Dodge Charger sedan, which goes into production this week.

Not even the Chrysler 300 sedan, the automaker's biggest hit in years, posted such strong early numbers.

"To us, it's a good indication of the interest level in this vehicle," said Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau.

But the four-door revival of the classic muscle car will face stiff competition in the midsize sedan category now ruled by the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Industry forecaster Global Insight predicts annual sales at 70,000 for the Charger, which would make it a hit but not a home run. The Accord sold more than that in the first three months of this year.

But Andre Tadros, general sales manager at Northwestern Dodge in Detroit, says early customer response tells him the Charger will be a strong seller.

"I haven't seen this much excitement for a Dodge in a long time," he said.

Chrysler will build the Charger at its plant in Brampton, Ontario, and expects to have the first models in dealerships by early next month.

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