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Ram drives Fiat Chrysler's first-quarter profits, which drop 47 percent from a year ago

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

DETROIT -- Ram pickups powered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' earnings in the first quarter of 2019, although the automaker saw those numbers drop compared with the same period last year.

The automaker reported a net profit of $567 million (508 million euros), a drop of 47 percent.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes were $1.19 billion (1.07 billion euros), down from $1.67 billion (1.5 billion euros). Revenues at $27.3 billion (24.5 billion euros), were down from $28.7 billion (25.7 billion euros).

Adjusted earnings per share of 40 cents (0.36 euros) were below analysts' expectations.

FCA CEO Mike Manley, however, pledged that the company's overall performance would improve later in the year.

"The first quarter will in fact be the lowest quarter that we have," Manley said during a conference call Friday.

 

FCA is a global automaker but its first-quarter results showed just how much it depends on North America. Adjusted earnings for North America were at $1.16 billion (1.04 billion euros), down from $1.36 billion (1.22 billion euros) in the same quarter last year.

The company's results in both Asia and Europe saw declines from the first quarter of 2018 in earnings before interest and taxes, although that was up in Latin America.

A company spokesman noted that one big impact in the quarter was the loss of production of both the old Wrangler and the new Wrangler. Both versions had been produced in Toledo through the middle of April 2018.

That kept shipments down, but the automaker plans a $4.5 billion manufacturing investment in metro Detroit. In addition, new products, such as the Jeep Gladiator, are hitting showrooms.

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