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Chrysler In the Black; First Profit Since Bankruptcy

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Fresh from announcing a range of new vehicles at the 2011 New York auto show, Chrysler says it's turned in its first quarterly profit since it emerged from bankruptcy.

The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker says it profited to the tune of $116 million in Q1, from an operating profit of $477 million. For the same period in 2010, Chrysler had lost $197 million net; the year before that, the company had not yet been reorganized into its current form, after it filed for Chapter 11.

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler as well as of Chrysler's new alliance partner Fiat Group, attributes the turnaround to new products introduced in the past year--everything from a new Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 lineup, to revamped minivans, to the refreshed mid-size Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sedans.

"Our rejuvenated product lineup is gaining momentum in the marketplace and resonating with customers,” Marchionne said in a release.

Fiat is planning an investment of about $1.3 billion in Chrysler, which should give it a 46-percent stake in Chrysler after it shuffles some debt to pay back federally backed loans to the governments of the United States and Canada.

Fiat's also said it may be prepared to taking a controlling 51-percent stake in the automaker by the end of this year, as it passes the final hurdle to owning an outright majority in the U.S. automaker. To satisfy the terms of its 2009 agreement to invest in Chrysler, the companies must produce a 40-mpg car before Fiat can gain control of the next 5-percent stake.

Chrysler expects to generate a profit of $2 billion for the 2011 fiscal year.

[Chrysler, Detroit News]
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