Chrysler defies the naysayers

The automaker posts quarterly and annual profits.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 1, 2012 11:28AM
Photodisc/PhotolibraryWhen the federal government forced Chrysler into bankruptcy in 2009 so the automaker could pursue a lifesaving merger with Fiat, many observers wondered whether the smallest member of the Big Three would survive. The automaker is proving the skeptics wrong.

Chrysler Group on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $225 million versus a loss of $199 million a year earlier as the company added new and refreshed vehicles to its lineup. Revenue jumped 41% to $15.1 billion. Like General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor (F), Chrysler is benefiting from rising consumer confidence. In 2011, the three posted  their best annual sales in three years.

The company is also making progress in improving vehicle quality, which has long been a weakness. In a review last year of the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8, Motor Trend magazine described the sedan as "a surprising and immensely gratifying machine." The magazine has also gushed over the "noticeable improvements" to the Town & Country, saying "It can finally hold its head up against its Japanese competitors, but with a style that's delightfully 'American.'" Even Consumer Reports, long a critic of Chrysler, noted that "when Chrysler gets the chance to really redesign a car -- not just do a nip here and a tuck there -- they can do a pretty good job."

Chrysler last month announced plans to bring back The Dodge Dart later this year.  Originally sold between 1960 and 1976, the Dart was as durable as a tank and as pretty as one, too. My family had one in the 1970s, so I am curious to see how the new models compare with the old ones. The Dart, which is based on an existing Fiat model, will give Chrysler a much-needed foothold in the small-car market where it isn't competitive.

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler and its Italian parent Fiat S.p.A., expects the good times to continues and expects the American company to post a $1.5 billion profit this year. That's an improvement over the $183 million in net income it posted in 2011, its first annual profit since the government bailouts and bankruptcy. Chrysler's strong performance enabled Fiat to more than double its full-year profit for 2011.

Jonathan Berr is a freelance business writer who still misses his Dodge Dart. He owns no shares of the companies listed here.
Tags: Fgm
11Comments
Feb 1, 2012 1:18PM
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The government bailout was repaid.  If that would not have happened it would have been devastating.  Not only Chrysler, but all their suppliers and employees.  It's best to get the facts before you make rash statements like implying it was to be a bail out and not repaid. 
Feb 1, 2012 1:11PM
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It seems that when the government help to keep people employed it is a bad thing but it is okay to have companies ship all the jobs over seas then have there product shipped back here. Now if those jobs are lost how are you going to pay for the sometime deadly product from China. I was for the bail out of the auto industires because it kept american working as to the wall street group they should of not received a dime all the money they made by selling americans down the road should of been used to bail them self out.

We need to force more companies to bring jobs back to america like Lincolnton furniture there is a great american he realized his mistake and took responsibility for it i hope to return to work so I can buy his made in america furniture.

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Dear Mr. Jemeagle,

You obviously have very low standards for quality and service.  We probably agree on the few nice features, like the headlights and tail lights..  The mileage comes right off the car's computer.  That would make 11 trips back to the dealer as I try to drive on "ECO".  The sheet metal fit on this car reminds me of Lee I's K car.  All hype and no performance.
I won't say that you are full of crap, as you have not seen this car.  And, if the advertising said made in North America or just America, I would be OK with that as well.

Kind regards and I hope that you never have the pleasure of going what we went through on a new Chrysler.

Feb 1, 2012 2:24PM
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Hey Bruce 880, not sure where you’re getting your information from.

 

According to Huffington Post today under bailout-taxpayers, GM still owes U.S. tax payers $25 billion and yes this bailout continues to be devastating............

 

 

 

Feb 1, 2012 5:25PM
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Just what we need in the USA rebadged FIATs.  I hope everyone knows I was totally joking by that comment.  We DO NOT need rebadged Fiat crap.  Fiat isnt a quality product in Europe I would love to know how bringing them to the US is going to make their quality any better.  They surely wont be good looking thats for darn sure.  The 500 isnt as offensive as the Scion XB, Nissan Cube, or Nissan Juke but it is certainly the next level in the ugly dept.   
Feb 1, 2012 5:10PM
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Mr Brown, To comment on your claim of a Hemi engine getting 10 mpg, no ____ing way and you you need to get it checked if you are. As far as "2012 still looks like 2005" you should borrow your wife's one good eye...open it and see what you obviously don't! The one thing that stands out in the Chrysler line is that they don't have the same looks as everyone else (which is very Asian/Chinese). I personally can't stand that the slant eyed tail lights and head lights on far too many cars that look very much the same. Nothing against the Chinese mind you. And in regards to your "PS: Our 300C says made in CANADA. So much for the imported from Detroit crap" There is nothing wrong with that picture. In fact, every American out there should look at the American/Canadian content pasted on every vehicle and after that buy smart by buying the vehicle that supports this country as well as Canada because that playing field is a level one! If it is less than 60% (and that's not good enough) screw any manufacturers vehicle!

Now go get that Hemi checked because that statement is crap and you sir by the way, while entitled to your opinion, are full of it.

Feb 2, 2012 12:02AM
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Dear Mr. Brown, first of all I do want to apologize for suggesting that you are full of "crap" regarding your vehicle/experience  as I haven't seen your vehicle. However, If you have a 5.7 Hemi that number doesn't make any sense. I know because I have one. If going to the dealer has not helped you I suggest that you contact Chrysler directly as they will work with you. I would ask them for some assistance and inquire about helping you via with a Lifetime extended warranty. With some patience and some persistence they will help you.Believe me, I know. 

 

As far as fit and finish are concerned, I also know all about that and I can only ask you the following: why? and I do mean why, did you accept a vehicle with such poor fitting sheet metal? Who's fault is that or didn't you see it right away? If not. Why?  David, if I had a job on a final assembly line I would probably throw out many vehicle due to poor fit/poor finish. There isn't a paint job out there on ANY vehicle out there today made by anyone worth a "crap" and if you haven't noticed that, look closer.

Now if I were you, I'd call Detroit and ask for assistance. Your mpg is far from correct and the body panels are another issue. Again, why did you accept delivery? Good luck and take care. Jemeagle99

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My wife bought a 300c, AWD.  I find it to be a combination of a 7 year old design, shody sheet metal and plastic work and the 'fine nappa leather'  looks like it was fitted by a cross-eyed, one arm upholsterer.  Took ten trips back to the dealer to fix the sheet metal issues.  Still waiting for the leather to start cracking so they will replace it.  Also had something loose in the driver's side window that put an 'outtie' ding in the door panel.  Chrysler delayed the build of our car twice and finally cancelled it the day it was finally scheduled to be built.  They found a piece of crap in NY and had it driven to Cleveland, much to my surprise as one who has driven the PA turnpike system.

We currently get 10 miles/gallon with the Hemi engine, but it uses cheap gas and we don't drive it much.

PS:  Our 300C says made in CANADA.  So much for the imported from Detroit crap.

While it has some nice features, the overall quality is lacking and the while the styling is OK for my wife with her one good eye, I expect it to drastically change in a couple of years.  2012 still looks like 2005.

Feb 1, 2012 4:51PM
Feb 1, 2012 2:08PM
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It's great news to read about "improved quality" at Chrysler, as this company has been the definition of cheap plastic, terrible build quality, and buzzy, awful engines for over a decade. Polarizing design themes did not help its cause, and lower end products seemed to have been creatively abandoned to the "rounded box" school of style. The 300 was not as sensational as its billing, and the Crossfire was a design error with (more) cheap materials and really nothing good about it. I am not encouraged enough to buy another Chrysler product, but it's good for the American, er, Italian-American, automobile business if they can produce a few wins - both financial AND critical.
Feb 1, 2012 12:25PM
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Another government bailout that made the rich richer. What a rip off.
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