Chrysler is reporting all lights are green for production of the new Dodge Dart to commence. The jointly-developed Dart (pictured) marks the "third and final Class B performance event" for Chrysler. And with Fiat's involvement in the new model, the Italian firm now owns 58.5 per cent of Chrysler.
It's good news for Chrysler and Fiat, reflected in the former's financial results for the first quarter of this year. In a press release issued by Chrysler, it was revealed that the company's net revenue for the first three months was $16.4 billion*, an improvement of 25 per cent year on year.
Modified operating profit for the same period came to $740 million* — a gain of 55 per cent year on year. Most importantly, the company's net income grew four-fold, to $473 million*.
Free cash flow finished the quarter at $1.7 billion* and cash totalled $11.3 billion* — up from $9.9 billion* for the first quarter of 2011. The company has also reduced its net industrial debt to $1.3 billion* from the figure of $3.4 billion* posted 12 months prior.
“Another positive quarter – built on sales gains that have surpassed the industry average – is affirmation that the Chrysler team is maintaining its focus,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler CEO. “We continue to deliver on the targets in our five-year plan and are now focused on successfully launching the Dodge Dart, a car that is a true melding of Chrysler’s and Fiat’s engineering and styling strengths.”
The continuing financial progress Chrysler is making since its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings three years ago can be attributed in part to improving vehicle sales, the company reports. 607,000 new vehicles were shipped from Chrysler factories during Q1, a 25 per cent boost from the figure of 485,000 units manufactured a year earlier. Actual sales for the first quarter rose 33 per cent and Chrysler now holds an 11.2 per cent share of the US market, up from 9.2 per cent in 2011.
In the press release, the company observed that the results were delivered in a climate of "higher industrial costs" that include "new vehicle content enhancements and engineering, research and development for new models, and continued marketing efforts".