Chrysler Reports Lower Q1 Profits, Fiat Shares Fall

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Chrysler Group LLC said its first-quarter profits dropped 65 percent to $166 million, compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company’s revenue also fell—a 6 percent decline to $15.4 billion. Its adjusted operating profit dropped 41 percent to $435 million.

Chrysler Reports Lower Q1 Profits, Fiat Shares Fall

The automaker also reaffirmed its annual revenue forecast of between $72 and $75 billion and its expected net income of approximately $2.2 billion. It expects adjusted operating profit of approximately $3.8 billion on shipments of $2.6 to $2.7 million vehicles.

Chrysler posted a 4.1 percent increase in U.S. sales in February, and Bloomberg reports that the company has reported 36 monthly U.S. sales increases in a row. Because of the possible merger between Chrysler and Fiat S.p.A (BIT:F) (PINK:FIATY), shares of the Italian automaker fell in Milan trading.

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of both companies, has been hoping that Chrysler’s gains would offset falling sales of Fiat’s European mass-market brands. He did say earlier this year that Chrysler’s first-quarter shipment volume would be hurt as the Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck and the Jeep Compass were introduced. Also the company has been preparing to release the redesigned Jeep Cherokee, which resulted in the company stopping production on the Jeep Liberty.

Fiat S.p.A (BIT:F) (PINK:FIATY) is the majority shareholder of Chrysler. It saved the struggling U.S. automaker in 2009 via an alliance brokered by the government. Fiat is scheduled to release its own financial results for the first quarter later today.

Earlier this year hedge funds increased their bets against Fiat and other Italian companies. The automaker was a large short of six hedge funds as of March.

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