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DEARBORN — Chrysler’s U.S. dealers will spend an average of $1 billion a year through 2008 to upgrade dealerships, a move the automaker believes will help grow vehicle sales by 10 percent a year.

Chrysler’s 4,200 U.S. dealers typically spend between $200 million and $300 million a year to spruce up showrooms, but have been investing at the $1 billion-a-year rate for two years now, said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of sales for DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group in Auburn Hills.

Dealers are taking advantage of low interest rates, which make financing renovations less expensive, and are preparing showrooms for new Chrysler vehicles, Dilts said after delivering a speech Tuesday at the 2004 Automotive News World Congress in Dearborn.

Chrysler will launch 25 new vehicles in the next 36 months, including nine new or refreshed models this year.

Dilts said between 400 and 500 Chrysler dealerships will be renovated each year through 2008.

They will choose from new “prefab” architectural designs meant to make brand identities more uniform, and each will spend about $2 million on enhancements.

Dealers who have already done so are seeing a 20 percent or higher return on investments, he said.

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