Here's the bad news: the Chrysler Group made less money this past quarter than the same time in 2012. However, the good news is this: the Chrysler Group is still profitable, and the drop in profits is (mostly) thanks to a series of new vehicle launches.
The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker made a reported $166 million off of $15.4 billion of net revenue in the first quarter of 2013. Both of those numbers are lower than their Q1 2012 equivalents: during that time period, Chrysler made $473 million net income from $16.4 billion of net revenue. As to why the second number--the amount of cash going into the company, regardless of operating expenses--is lower, Chrysler blames lower worldwide sales of its products: worldwide vehicle shipments dropped from 607,000 in Q1 2012 to 574,000 in Q1 2013. The reason for that drop: the Jeep Liberty, which ceased production in 2012. That SUV will be replaced with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which starts its production later this year.
Still, Chrysler's numbers are enough to gain some praise: the company's $166 million profit in the first quarter of this year makes seven straight quarters (or nearly two years) of consecutive profits. The company also reported $11.9 billion in cash on hand, up from $11.3 billion at the same point a year earlier.
Speaking of production, Chrysler blames most of its loss in net income on two product launches and one product introduction. As you read this, Chrysler's launch of the refreshed 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is finishing (the car is currently on sale nationwide), and the 2014 Dodge Durango's launch is scheduled for the third or fourth quarter of this year. Other launches like the one for the 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks also pushed expenses up, and the company is steeling itself for a 2014 that will include refreshed rear-wheel drive models (the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger/Challenger) and a new 200 sedan, as well as the Fiat 500L.
Chrysler says that the Jeep Grand Cherokee/Ram HD launches, along with the new ramp-up in production of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, should yield some benefits later this year in the form of higher sales and--naturally--higher profits. We'll see: the controversially styled SUV will hit the Toledo, Ohio production lines this summer ahead of a fall 2013 sale date.