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DaimlerChrysler Profit Slightly Better Than Expected

The company cites cost-cuts in a tough revenue environment.

DaimlerChrysler (DCX) said its operating profit rose slightly in the third quarter from a year ago on flat vehicle sales.

The German-based owner of Chrysler, the No. 3 U.S. auto company, said revenue rose 2% to $32.7 billion. The company's operating profit before one-time items was $600 million, up from $500 million a year ago. Per-share net earnings before one-time items were 26 cents a share, down from 30 cents a share last year; analysts were predicting earnings of 23 cents.

DaimlerChrysler said it sold 1 million vehicles in the quarter, reflecting a 11% gain in the Mercedes Benz unit and a 6% decline in the Chrysler segment. The company cited late-quarter deferrals in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and a decline in U.S. demand for trucks for Chrysler's performance, which was somewhat worse than expected.

Within Chrysler, retail sales of cars and trucks fell 19%, while total revenue in the segment fell 4% to $13.3 billion. The unit's operating loss was $243 million, narrowed from $527 million last year, reflecting cost reductions. The company said total worldwide employment was 380,000 at the end of the quarter, down from 440,287 a year ago.

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For the full year 2001, DaimlerChrysler expects operating earnings at the low end of the $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion range it gave in February on revenue of about $132 billion.