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Chrysler 3rd-quarter profit up 80% to $381 million

By Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press –

DETROIT — Chrysler earned $381 million in the third quarter, an 80 percent improvement from a year earlier, the company said Monday, as both sales and profit per vehicle increased during its sixth straight profitable quarter.

Last year, Chrysler earned $212 million for the three months ending Sept. 30.

The Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009 with the assistance of federal loans, has rebounded faster than almost anyone expected.

“We’ve changed the conversation at Chrysler Group,” Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “We continue to work feverishly and are pleased to see that our all-consuming aspiration for excellence is translating into results.”

Chrysler’s revenue increased 18 percent to $15.5 billion during the third quarter compared with $13.1 billion for the same period last year.

The results put Chrysler on track to meet its previous forecast of a profit of $1.5 billion and total revenue of $65 billion for the year.

Chrysler also said Monday it now expects to exceed $1 billion in positive cash flow this year but did not provide a new target.

This year, Chrysler is the only Detroit Three automaker to gain market share. Chrysler’s market share has increased to 11.5 percent in the U.S. through September from 10.6 percent for the same period last year, according to Autodata.

Chrysler’s recovery would surprise many who argued in 2009 against lending money to the automaker. At the time, several members of Barack Obama’s auto team thought Chrysler was not worth saving.

Italian automaker Fiat, now Chrysler’s majority owner, was the only company interested in acquiring the automaker.

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