Chrysler posts an 11.7% rise in sales in September, pushing year-to-date deliveries up 23.8% to 1,243,276 light vehicles.

The results are a continued sign of progress for the auto maker, still seeking to regain ground lost following its 2009 bankruptcy.

“With our current product lineup, record low interest rates and a stable U.S. economy, we remain optimistic about the health of the U.S. new-vehicle sales industry and our position in it,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales and president-Dodge brand, says in a statement.

Deliveries of the closely watched Dodge Dart compact jumped 72% from August levels, a performance the auto maker credits to greater availability due to the continuing production ramp-up, plus hot demand that is seeing an average inventory turn rate of 12 days on dealer lots nationwide.

“Our strength (with the Dart) lies in areas where Dodge is typically strong – the Great Lakes, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois and other states where compact cars over-index, such as California,” Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel tells WardsAuto.

The take rate for manual transmissions on the Dart is 25%, Chrysler says. The compact posted a total of 5,235 deliveries in September.

Sales of nearly all Chrysler models were up last month, though the steady-selling Dodge Charger large sedan slipped 13.7% from like-2011. The Dodge Durango SUV, a slow seller throughout 2012, again posted weak sales with a 39.3% drop from year-ago.

The Fiat 500 subcompact continues to add to Chrysler’s tally with 4,176 deliveries during the month. Fiat dealers nationwide are expanding to accommodate the forthcoming Fiat 500L 4-door subcompact and yet-to-be-named Alfa Romeo models.

Chrysler’s top seller in September was the fullsize Ram pickup with 25,324 deliveries. Ram’s truck lineup has been refreshed for ’13 with new 1500 pickups beginning to trickle into dealerships this month.

afoley@wardsauto.com