Chrysler earned $473 million in the first quarter of 2012. This figure was more than quadruple its $116 million profit in the period a year earlier. It is also more than the company’s entire net income for 2011. Chrysler’s first-quarter revenue rose 25%, to $16.36 billion, from the same period last year. The results exceeded analysts’ expectations.
Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Chrysler (and Fiat), said, “It is fair to say that Chrysler is firing on all cylinders. I really have no bad news to tell you.” Under the direction of Mr. Marchionne and his management team, Chrysler has become a leader in the industry. Mr. Marchionne also expressed confidence that the company would meet its target of $1.5 billion in net income for 2012. He said, “It’s been a great quarter, and I think the indications for the remainder of the year are absolutely positive.”
Chrysler has made over its product lineup and seems to have restored its image as a daring, innovative automaker. Improved versions of signature products, like the Grand Cherokee, the Dodge Durango, and the Chrysler 300 and 200 sedans, have been primarily responsible for the comeback. Chrysler has upgraded the vehicles’ interiors and designs, increased their fuel efficiency, and improved their overall reliability. Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chrysler 300 have been especially brisk as customers seek out the revamped versions of the vehicles.
Chrysler’s United States sales and market share has been steadily increasing over the last year. Chrysler’s domestic market share grew to 11.2%, an increase of two percentage points. Chrysler’s global sales increased 33%. A patriotic advertising campaign comparing the company’s comeback from bankruptcy with the economic recovery of the country increased consumer interest in the brand. Jesse Toprak, a vice president at TrueCar.com, said, “This is without question a product-driven recovery. But I doubt that any of us would have anticipated so much growth in market share.”