DaimlerChrysler Fares Better Than Expected In Third Quarter

U. S. Chysler division down but Mercedes sales up.

Although DaimlerChrysler reported on Oct. 25 that profits slid by 37% to 541 million euros (US $680 million) in the period from July to September, the figures were better than expected.

Third-quarter earnings were pulled down by losses at its U.S. unit Chrysler. Operating profit was cut in half, falling by 51% to 892 million euros on an 8% decline in sales to 35.2 billion euros. The loss was attributable to falling unit sales, "an unfavorable shift in product and market mix and negative net pricing," DaimlerChrysler explained.

Chrysler's poor performance was largely offset by strong earnings at the top-of-the-range car division Mercedes, where operating profit more than doubled, soaring 127% to 991 million euros. Here, cost-cutting measures were bearing fruit and "earnings were also favorably impacted by the improved model mix since the launch of the new S-Class and M, R, and GL-Class models," the group explained.

The trucks division also powered ahead, turning in a 57% rise in profits to 556 million euros.

"This significant increase in earnings was due to higher unit sales, a high utilization of capacity combined with strong productivity and an improved model mix," DaimlerChrysler said.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, DaimlerChrysler said it was forecasting full-year operating profit of around five billion euros.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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