Weak dollar may mean more US exports

To take advantage of the weak US dollar, U.S. automakers plan to step up European sales of cars built in North America as a way to take advantage of the dollar's weakness against the euro. In the past, U.S. manufacturers have exported a small number of U.S.-built cars to Europe.

Germany's Automobilwoche industry paper said on Monday DaimlerChrysler would launch U.S.-based Dodge as an entry-level brand targeted at young people in Europe next month. It quoted Thomas Hausch, international marketing director for Chrysler, as saying the group's U.S. arm expected to generate "up to 30 percent" of its global sales from Dodge in Europe by 2007. That would be around 30,000 cars at today's levels.

It also quoted General Motors product development chief Bob Lutz as saying the world's biggest carmaker planned to offer GMC brand sport utility vehicles in Europe in one or two years, expanding its range to seven brands. Automobilwoche said GM aimed to sell up to 15,000 GMC vehicles in Europe by 2010 in addition to boosting sales of U.S.-made Chevrolet cars.

The current exchange rate is $1 US dollar = 0.77 Euros. When the Euro was first introduced two years ago it was almost 1 to 1.

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