DETROIT – The chief of DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group
says the once-struggling American-based operation is poised
to increase its share of the ultra-competitive U.S. auto
market this year, but profits remain the priority.
On Oct. 28, Chrysler reported an operating profit of $269
million from its automotive business in the third quarter,
up from $171 million a year ago. It marked the fifth
consecutive quarterly profit for the division that lost $1
billion in the second quarter a year ago.
The key to the turnaround, analysts say, is a slew of new
vehicles, led by the hot-selling, Hemi-powered Chrysler
300C. Chrysler launched the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee
and Dodge Dakota pickup in the third quarter, bringing to
nine the number of launches in 2004, the most ever for
For the first nine months of 2004, Chrysler was the only
one of Detroit's Big Three automakers to grow its U.S.
market share – 13 percent compared to 12.8 percent a year
ago. Its third-quarter results helped parent
DaimlerChrysler record a profit of $1.18 billion.
"I think it's pretty encouraging that we can change this
trend which seems to be a given: The Big Three have to lose
market share, and the Japanese have to gain," said Dieter
Zetsche, Chrysler president and chief executive.
"With more new products coming, and having them out for
more than a few months, I'm confident we'll see more market
share gain," Zetsche said. "But once again, our No. 1
priority is to make money, and secondly we want to have
growth to support that objective."
Chrysler's third-quarter results reflect earnings generated
solely from its automotive business, which was aided by
decreased spending on consumer incentives. DaimlerChrysler,
headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and Auburn Hills,
Mich., reportrf results for financial services separately.
Larger rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. both
reported losses at their global automotive businesses in
the July-September period, but they managed to post profits
largely from earnings in their financial services arms.
The company has some vehicles on the market that are
capturing buyer attentions. Sales of Chrysler’s new
flagship sedan, the 300C, were up 59 percent for the first
nine months of 2004, versus the vehicles they replaced –
the Chrysler 300M and Concorde – over the same period last
Chrysler said overseas sales are up 4 percent year-to-date