Chrysler reports full-year profit on strong U.S. sales; sees higher 2012

DETROIT – U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC swung to a full-year net income of $183 million on Wednesday, and made the bold prediction that profit would be eight times higher in 2012, on strong sales in its main U.S. market.

In its second full year managed by Italy’s Fiat SpA and its hard-charging chief executive Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler turned a net profit of $183 million, up from a loss of $652 million in 2010. The company set a target for about $1.5 billion in net profit in 2012.

Chrysler 2011 sales reached $54.98 billion, a 31-percent rise from 2010, linked closely to strong sales in its home U.S. market.

Marchionne, also the CEO of Chrysler, said of the Detroit-area automaker, “Our house is in good order.”

Later on Wednesday, Marchionne will address the state of the larger Fiat, which also reports quarterly and annual results.

Fiat took control of the third-biggest U.S. automaker in 2009 as part of a government bailout.

Last year was the first time a company named Chrysler reported a net income since 1997, when the company showed a net profit of $2.8 billion.

From 1998 until 2007, as a unit of Daimler AG, Chrysler reported only an operating profit or loss, and last posted an operating profit in 2005, at $1.8 billion. It did not post profits when from 2007 to 2009 when it was owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.