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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday reported a $2.6 billion profit for its FCA US LLC division for the first quarter of the year.

The majority of the profit for the automaker formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC was from a $2.3 billion deferred tax benefit related to a change in its tax status. Without the benefit, the company would have earned about $300 million during the first three months of the year, up from a loss of $690 million during the same time period a year ago.

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Net revenue for the first quarter was $20.9 billion, up 10 percent from $19.0 billion a year ago.

Much of its success was driven by increased sales of its Ram Truck and Jeep brands. The company has recorded more than five years of monthly year-over-year sales gains.

The earnings report for FCA US comes just over a week after its parent company reported a profit of 92 million euros ($99 million based on March 31 exchange rate) for the first quarter, led by a recovering European market and strong sales in the U.S.

North America improved by more than 200 million euros ($223 million) to an adjusted EBIT of 601 million euros ($671 million) driven by higher volumes and improved net pricing, which was partially offset by the negative impacts of the weakened Canadian dollar and Mexican peso and increased warranty and recall costs, according to the company.

Last week Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne also called for more consolidation and collaboration of the auto industry, outlining a report called "Confessions of a Capital Junkie."

The maestro behind the merger to create Fiat Chrysler said increased consolidation and collaboration would save billions of dollars annually by shedding unnecessary duplications — producing the best results for the companies, investors and consumers.

The suggestion has received mixed reactions from analysts. The company's stock following the discussion fell more than $2 per share. As of Thursday afternoon, shares were trading around $14.70, up 2.5 percent.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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