Volkswagen, Chrysler and Fiat see profits jump

VW logo VW said it was outperforming rivals in all its markets

Car giants Volkswagen, Chrysler and Fiat have all reported strong rises in first-quarter profits as the global car market recovers.

Volkswagen's first quarter net profit nearly doubled to 3.2bn euros ($4.2bn; £2.6bn) compared with a year ago.

Chrysler - now controlled by Italy's Fiat - announced net profits of $473m, its best quarterly profit in 13 years.

The "significant contribution" from Chrysler pushed overall net profits at Fiat group up 10-fold to 379m euros.

The group said the strong performance from Chrysler had offset lower sales of Fiat in Europe.

Revenues more than doubled on a year ago to 20.2bn euros. But excluding Chrysler, they fell 5.7% to 8.7bn euros.

Record delivery target

Germany's Volkswagen - whose brands include Audi, Skoda, Seat and Bentley - said it was outperforming the market in all regions and deliveries to customers were up by 11.1% on the year to 2.2 million vehicles.

VW's models were particularly in demand in Russia where sales rose 77% to 66,000 vehicles.

The carmaker said it still aimed to make record deliveries beyond last year's record of 8.3 million vehicles.

VW shares closed up 7.8% in Frankfurt.

Growing market share

Chrysler reported a 39% rise in first quarter sales. It marks another stage in its recovery from the US giant's low point in 2009 when it had to be saved by a government task-force.

The profit figure was four times the amount it made for the first quarter a year ago and was the best result since 1998.

Chrysler's market share is growing, rising to 11.5% in the US last year from 9.4% the year before, and company said it expected to make a total of $1.5bn for 2012 as a whole.

Fiat's boss intends to merge the two companies by 2014.

Fiat increased its stake in Chrysler to 58.5% earlier this year. The rest of the business is owned by the retirees' healthcare trust affiliated with the United Auto Workers union, which represents the company's US hourly-paid workers.

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