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Light-Duty Truck Sales Drive Chysler, GM Earnings

October 30, 2013

Photo of 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee courtesy of Chrysler.
Photo of 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee courtesy of Chrysler.

Chrysler and General Motors reported mixed third-quarter results Wednesday as both cited strong sales of light-duty pickup trucks and Chrysler noted higher demand for its Jeep SUVs.

Chrysler reported increased profit of 22 percent, while GM said profit fell 53 percent during the quarter. GM's drop was primarily a result of special charges related to the repurchase of 120 million shares of preferred stock. GM reported revenue of $38.98 billion, a 4 percent increase from $37.57 billion a year ago.

Chrysler reported revenue increased 13 percent to $17.56 billion, up from $15.48 billion a year ago. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA, acknowledged the company's misstep in shutting down its Toledo, Ohio, Jeep Cherokee plant for almost a year to resolve issues involving integration of a new transmission in the redesigned 2014 model. "We've been out of the market way too long," he said.

This month, Chrysler began shipping the mid-sized SUV to dealers. During calendar-year 2012, commercial, government, and rental fleets registered 14,021 Grand Cherokee vehicles, while the automaker sold 140,831 retail vehicles, according to the Automotive Fleet Fact Book.

Chrysler's Ram pickup truck has also been a strong seller, Marchionne said.

General Motors said its best performance came in the North America region, while losses in Europe improved and earnings from China fell. The company's Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which was redesigned for 2014, was a stalwart seller for the automaker.

"We made gains in the third quarter as we improved our North American margins and increased our global share on the strength of our Chevrolet brand," said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “Our efforts to build great cars and trucks and deliver solid financial results were recognized this quarter by Moody’s investment grade rating."

Ford Motor Co. reported its third-quarter earnings on Oct. 24, recording $1.27 billion in net profit and a 12 percent increase in revenue to $36 billion. The company attributed its results in North America to "a strong industry and a robust full-size pickup segment."

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