Strong Gains at Chrysler Help Fiat Avoid a Loss

By Vlasic, Bill | International Herald Tribune, January 31, 2013 | Go to article overview

Strong Gains at Chrysler Help Fiat Avoid a Loss


Vlasic, Bill, International Herald Tribune


Suffering under the worst European car maket in two decades, Fiat was saved from a loss by the profitability of its U.S. unit, Chrysler.

The worst European automobile market in two decades has taken a toll on the Italian carmaker Fiat, but it managed to turn a profit thanks to its Chrysler unit in the United States.

Chrysler, the smallest of the American automakers, said Wednesday that its profit soared to $1.66 billion last year, about nine times as much as the $183 million it earned the previous year. The increase underscored the company's comeback from its U.S. government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009, when Fiat took it over.

In the fourth quarter alone, Chrysler said it had profit of $378 million, a 68 percent increase from $225 million a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter was $17.1 billion, a 13 percent gain from $15.1 billion a year earlier.

"Chrysler concluded a very successful 2012 with a robust fourth- quarter performance," said Jesse Toprak, an analyst with the auto research site TrueCar.com. "The company was the only domestic automaker to gain market share last year."

Chrysler also benefited from having little exposure to the deepening economic crisis in Europe, where vehicle sales have fallen to the lowest levels in about 20 years.

Without Chrysler, Fiat said it would have had a loss of EUR 1.04 billion last year. But Chrysler's results helped Fiat post a profit of EUR 1. …

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