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Chrysler PT Cruiser to live

Despite the "quiet" sales of Chrysler's PT Cruiser the car will continue to be offered as part of the Australian model range.

And like the ultimate survivor - the cockroach - it now seems that anything short of a nuclear holocaust will not be enough to put an end to the vehicle. All but dead and buried earlier this year when United States media outlets quoted then Chrysler president Tom LaSorda as confirming the end of production for the little sedan, the hot-rod look-alike bounced back this week with news that production would continue unabated.

As happened to the previously-condemned Dodge Viper, the PT Cruiser has been spat out at the end of the Chrysler bankruptcy restructuring as a car with a future - and quite a past.

Almost unchanged since its launch in 2000, more than 1.3 million PT Cruisers have been sold in 60 countries - including 7000 in Australia.

Chrysler Australia spokesman Jerry Stamoulis says that while sales of the PT Cruiser have been "quiet" and "supply affected" recently the car will continue to be offered as part of the Australian model range.

"It is still a model we have demand for and we will continue to offer it," Stamoulis says. "We have been given no indication at this stage on what sort of supply we can expect but the news that the PT Cruiser will continue to be built is all good."

In June only nine PT Cruisers were sold in Australia, compared to 41 for the same month the previous year while first half sales this year plunged to 49 against 191 for the same period in 2008.

"Our strongest interest is still from the small business sector where the car is still enough of an attention grabber to perform strongly as a mobile advertisement," Stamoulis says. "The Cruiser may be eight years old but the original design is still flexible enough to do duty as a functional sedan or a small delivery van."

Stamoulis says there is also an extremely strong loyalty factor amongst original PT Cruiser owners. "We are now finding that people who bought the car when it was first released here are now coming back to upgrade to a new car. The loyalty is amazing and that is also shown in the strength of the PT Cruiser owners clubs."

There was no indication in this week's announcement of any styling or engineering updates for the PT Cruiser which will continue to be built at the Toluca (Mexico) assembly plant.

The PT Cruiser is available in Australia in three specification levels - Grand Tourer, Limited and Touring with a single choice of a 1.5kW 2.4-litre four cylinder engine coupled to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual. Pricing starts at $31,990 topping out at $37,690.