Kokomo — Chrysler Group LLC profited $473 million in the first quarter of 2012, the automaker reported Thursday.
Profits increased about 100 percent from the previous quarter and about 300 percent from a year earlier.
Kokomo’s largest company, with about 5,000 people working at its four plants in the city, sold 38.7 percent more vehicles in the first quarter than it did a year earlier. Worldwide, the company sold 33 percent more vehicles than a year earlier.
Revenues for the quarter increased about 25 percent to a little less than $16.4 billion.
“It’s been a great quarter,” Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said during a conference call with reporters and analysts. “I think the indications for the remainder of the year continue to be absolutely positive.”
Chrysler boosted its market share to 11.2 percent from 9.2 percent.
Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer attributed that growth to increased penetration in the small-car market, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango’s successes.
Grand Cherokee sales increased almost 44 percent year-over-year while the Durango went up about 33 percent.
Chrysler shipped 607,000 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter. The company says it is on track to ship between 2.3 million and 2.4 million vehicles by the end of the year.
Marchionne said the release of the new generation Dodge Dart will be important to earnings later this year. Chrysler developed the sedan with the other company Marchionne runs, Italian automaker Fiat SpA, which is majority owner of Chrysler.
This year will be relatively “weak” for vehicle launches, he said, adding that 2013 would be the “big year.”
• Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached at 765-454-8570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.