CHICAGO Chrysler Group
LLCs first-quarter net income tumbled 64.9 percent from
the same period last year, which the automaker blamed on
reduced vehicle shipments because of key product launches.
Auburn Hills, Mich.-based
Chrysler posted net income of $166 million for the three months
ended March 31 vs. $473 million a year earlier on revenue that
fell 6 percent to $15.39 billion.
As anticipated, the quarter was negatively
affected by lower vehicle shipments as a result of key product
launchesthe 2013 Ram heavy-duty trucks and the 2014 Jeep
Grand Cherokeewhich the automaker said will position the
company for a strong performance in the second half of
"We remain on track to achieve
our business targets, even as the first-quarter results were
affected by an aggressive product launch schedule," chairman
and chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said in an April
29 statement. "This quarter underscores the importance of an
unwavering commitment to execute flawless vehicle introductions
to reach our full potential. While the task ahead this year is
daunting, we remain committed to our overall targets, including
a minimum shipment increase of 8 percent."
The company shipped fewer
vehicles in North America during the first quarter due to the
end of the Jeep Liberty program in 2012 in preparation for new
Ram trucks and Jeep models, while international shipments
declined due to continued economic weakness in Europe and
import restrictions in Latin America.
Worldwide shipments totaled
574,000 vehicles in the first quarter, down 5.4 percent from
607,000 in the same period last year. But worldwide sales of
563,000 vehicles were up 7.6 percent from 523,000 in the same
comparison, driven primarily by a 12-percent increase in U.S.
Chrysler expects shipments to
total between 2.6 million and 2.7 million vehicles this year,
generating sales of between $72 billion and $75 billion and net
income of about $2.2 billion.