Chrysler Makes It Big With Its New Model

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Earlier, we reported the increasing profits of General Motors and Ford; now it’s Chrysler’s turn. DaimlerChrysler’s American division (excluding Mercedes Benz) reported a 2nd quarter operating profit of $614 million, up from spanning a billion dollars lost just last year, according to the Associated Press.

A large part of the turnaround is because of a product revival that includes America’s current “it” cars, the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum. The Bentley-esque 300 is bringing in import customers with its expensive looks as well as the 300C’s HEMI V8 power. The Dodge Magnum is successfully transferring the Dodge Ram’s testosterone-charged image to its wagon shape, converting many former truck and SUV buyers along the way. The AP reports that 34,571 Chrysler 300s were sold during its first 3 months on sale. That’s five times what the 300M, the 300’s predecessor, sold during that period the last year. The Magnum pulled in 7,726 units sold during its first couple of months available for sale. It replaces the Intrepid sedan.

Chrysler will launch 25 new models by 2006, 9 this year alone. Thanks partly to the 300 and the Magnum, Chrysler sales are up 2.1% for your first six months of the year. The Chrysler Group’s market share rose slightly to 13.5% in that time while GM and Ford lost share. Chrysler is now earning more despite having a smaller volume than GM and Ford’s North American automotive units. Chrysler only expects leads to improve further as the year continues, due to the aggressive model launch.

With a related note, Mercedes Benz reported an 18% dip in second-quarter operating profit, to $856 million thanks to lower sales, unfavorable exchange rates, and high launch costs of the new A-class and C-class. Both new models were delayed four weeks in order to avoid quality issues from cropping up on the first batch emerging from the factory.

In other MB news, Wolfgang Bernhard, the former Chrysler chief operating officer which was promoted to go Mercedes merely to have that stripped when he clashed with other executives in Germany, has effectively left the business. Rumors suggest he could head to Volkswagen or General Motors.