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    Chrysler to hire 1,250, add truck production

    DETROIT — Automakers are betting on a surge in pickup sales now that home building is on the rise.

    Chrysler said it is adding 1,000 workers to its Ram factory. Ford and General Motors also say truck sales are climbing fast after several years of small but steady growth.

    Truck sales rise or fall with home construction, since trucks are the vehicle of choice for contractors and construction crews.


    Another reason that sales could surge is the record age of the trucks currently on the road. Ford Americas president Mark Fields said this week that 53 percent of full-size pickups are now older than 10 years, and 27 percent are more than 15 years old. Many of those trucks will soon have to be replaced.

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    ‘‘You can see there’s a lot of pent-up demand out there,’’ Fields said at an industry conference. ‘‘There could be a lot of opportunity.’’

    Fields said full-size trucks have accounted for 11 percent of US sales since 2009. That market share shot up rapidly in October to 13 percent, according­ to a Citi analyst, Itay Michaeli. He expects demand at that level for the next few months, especially since gas prices have eased.