Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 31, 2012

Chrysler’s net income up 80 percent

Company earned $381 million in third quarter

By Megan Graham
Tribune staff writer

Kokomo — Chrysler announced $381 million in third-quarter earnings Monday, an 80 percent improvement from a year earlier, when the company earned $212 million.

The company was the only Detroit Three automaker to gain market share this year, which the company believes is due to a “revamped product lineup.”

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

Gualberto Ranieri, senior vice president of communications, said he credits a high public opinion of Chrysler, as well as marketing strategy and quality of the vehicles.

“At the end of the day, what matters are the products,” he said.

But Consumer Reports’ recently released annual reliability study indicates those products may need some reworking. Three out of Chrysler’s four brands ranked near the bottom of the 28 brands ranked by the publication, citing issues with optional powertrains and other features.

Jake Fisher, director of testing for Consumer Reports, said the unreliability stemmed from significantly redesigning or upgrading cars rapidly after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, The Associated Press reported.

“Chrysler Group has made significant strides in improving the quality of the entire product line in recent years which has been reflected in a variety of different surveys,” said Doug Betts, senior vice president for quality at the company, in an emailed statement. “We do know that our warranty claim data was 25 percent better for 2012 model year than 2011 model year, so we had expected this survey to show improvement. We look forward to reviewing this survey data as more detail becomes available.”

The automaker has added more than 16,400 jobs as sales have increased in the last 30 consecutive months. Jodi Tinson, manufacturing and labor representative for Chrysler, said the company was unable to say how many of those jobs were in Kokomo.

Megan Graham is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. She can be reached by phone at 765-454-8570 or by email at megan.graham@kokomotribune.com.