DETROIT — Chrysler Group’s net income rose 22 percent in the third quarter as strong sales of the Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee masked weaknesses elsewhere in its lineup.
Chrysler said today that it earned $464 million in the July-September period. It was the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company’s ninth consecutive profitable quarter.
Worldwide vehicle sales for the third quarter were 603,000, up 8 percent from a year ago. The company’s sales outside North America jumped 20 percent to 82,000.
Overall, however, it was a lackluster quarter in the U.S., where Chrysler does three-quarters of its business. Chrysler’s sales rose 7.7 percent, lagging the total industry increase of 12 percent. The Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands saw sales increases, but Fiat’s U.S. sales fell 7.5 percent. Chrysler didn’t gain any U.S. market share during the quarter.
The company delayed shipments of its new small SUV, the Cherokee, so it could fix issues with the vehicle’s new nine-speed transmission. The Cherokee was supposed to go on sale in September, but Chrysler finally began shipping Cherokees last week.
But booming sales of the Ram and Jeep Grand Cherokee, which were both recently updated, helped boost Chrysler’s results anyway.
U.S. sales of the Ram rose 23 percent in the third quarter compared last year, and Chrysler also made more per truck, Kelley Blue Book said. Buyers paid an average of $36,724 per truck in the third quarter, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.
Jeep Grand Cherokee sales also rose 30 percent, and buyers paid 9 percent more, or $40,175 per vehicle, for the revamped SUV.
Chrysler reaffirmed its full-year guidance. The company expects a full-year profit of between $1.7 billion and $2.2 billion on revenue of between $72 billion and $75 billion.
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