DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported earnings of $1.07 billion (910 million euro) in the third quarter, an increase of 50 percent over the same period a year ago.
The automaker, which has its U.S. headquarters in suburban Detroit, touted a record third-quarter, citing a drop in expenses related to debt reduction, strong performance in North America, a higher margin in Latin America and profits in the luxury Maserati brand.
Pretax profits of $2.1 (1.8 billion euro) beat analysts' expectations for pretax profits of $1.02 billion (863.2 million euro), according to MarketWatch. Earnings per share of 70 cents were an increase over 56 cents during the same period in 2016.
The improvements came despite a plateauing sales picture for automakers in the U.S. following years of increases. FCA vehicle shipments in North America dropped 6 percent to 592,000 from 627,000 from the same period a year ago.
Although FCA sales were down in the U.S., much of that came through planned reductions in fleet sales, which are less profitable than retail, and the vehicles being sold tend to carry a higher price tag and more profit.
During a conference call, Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer pointed to the discontinuation of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 as well as the transition of Jeep Cherokee production from Toledo, Ohio, to Belvidere, Ill., for a drop in retail sales of about 20,000 vehicles. He noted that the result was offset somewhat by improvements for the Ram and Alfa Romeo brands.
The third-quarter results follow a mammoth second quarter for FCA when it earned $1.35 billion (1.15 billion euro), which was a 207 percent increase over the same period in 2016.
FCA reported improvements in all regions from the same period in 2016. Pretax profits increased slightly to $1.51 billion (1.3 billion euro) in North America from $1.5 billion (1.29 billion euro); they rose to $69 million (59 million euro) from a loss of $19 million (16 million euro) in Latin America; they increased to $128 million (109 million euro) from $25 million (21 million euro) in Asia; and in Europe, they were up to $149 million (127 million euro) from $122 million (104 million euro).
Although net revenue fell at Maserati, the brand's pretax profits increased to $133 million (113 million euro) from $121 million (103 million euro). Components, including Magneti Marelli, also increased to $149 million (127 million euro) from $132 million (112 million euro).
Shares of FCA were trading at $17.45, up 5.44 percent, at Tuesday's close.
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