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by Matt Brogan

Chrysler executives in the US are making their second sales plea to dealers in two weeks, urging them today to order 15,000 more cars by Monday to keep the company viable.

“You have two choices,” said Chrysler co-President Jim Press. “You can either help us or burn us all down.”

The executives said 70 percent of the dealer body had heeded the company’s request to order 78,000 vehicles they had been allocated for February. Press made the first plea January 24th at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans.

“We’ve got to get the cash flow coming in so we can get to March 31st as a viable company,” Press said in a conference call to dealers this afternoon. “By doing that right now, we can begin to harvest the long-term benefits of the investments we’re making.”

“By successfully keeping the doors open in January and February, we’ll get the loan,” said Press, referring to $4 billion Chrysler has received from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Chrysler must submit a plan to the government by February 17th to show it’s a viable company. The government will decide by March 31st whether to keep the loan in force.

The automaker is seeking an additional $3 billion in US aid. Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau declined comment on the sales call.




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