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Fiat Chrysler posts record North America operating profit in third quarter
Last Updated: 2019-11-01 06:15 | Xinhua
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) delivered record third quarter operating profit in North America market and a best-ever 10.6 percent margin, the automaker said Thursday.

According to its third quarter financial report, the company's adjusted operating profit rose 5 percent from a year ago, to 1.96 billion euros (2.18 billion U.S. dollars), as strong pricing drove a record result in North America despite a decline in overall shipments.

FCA also confirmed its prior upbeat full-year guidance for 2019 and gave preliminary guidance for 2020, along with some new details about its ongoing restructuring efforts.

The earnings came after FCA and French automaker Peugeot's PSA early Thursday confirmed they have agreed to merge. The 50-50 combination would create the world's fourth largest automaker with the twin goals of helping PSA re-enter North America and FCA turn around its European business.

In North America, the record quarter of 2.02 billion euros (2.3 billion dollars) in adjusted earnings before interest and taxes, despite shipments falling 11 percent to reduce dealer stock inventory, resulted from a greater mix of pricier trims and accessories and maintaining production costs.

All truck sales, including the new Jeep Gladiator pickup, increased 25 percent in the quarter. The Ram pickup maintained its spot as the No. 2-selling truck in the United States in the third quarter after surpassing the Chevrolet Silverado in the first nine months of the year.

The United Auto Workers' six-week national strike against General Motors Co. nearly guarantees Ram will hold its position for the full year for the first time ever.

FCA's Asia Pacific unit posted a loss of 10 million euros (11.2 million dollars) before tax, an improvement of 86 million euros (107 million dollars) from the year-ago period.

Combined shipments fell 24 percent, largely because of lower volumes from FCA's joint ventures with Chinese automakers, but revenue rose 18 percent on stronger vehicle mix and favorable foreign-exchange effects.

FCA's Europe unit lost 55 million euros (61.3 million dollars), versus a loss of 25 million euros (27.9 million dollars) a year ago, on lower shipments, pricing pressures, and higher compliance costs.

Shipments fell 4 percent to about 270,000 vehicles, largely due to the discontinuation of some small models of Fiat and Alfa Romeo.

FCA's Latin America unit once again bucked industry trends by posting a profit gain. The unit made 152 million euros (169.5 million dollars) in the third quarter, up 83 percent from a year ago, on higher volumes and a one-off tax credit in Brazil, offset somewhat by lower sales in Argentina. Overall shipments fell slightly from a year ago to about 150,000.

FCA luxury brand Maserati reports its results separately, on a global basis. It lost 51 million euros (56.9 million dollars) in the third quarter, down from a profit of 15 million euros (16.7 million dollars) a year ago.

The brand's global shipments fell 48 percent from a year ago, to about 4,600, on a planned effort to reduce its dealers' inventories. That effort is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

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