MILAN — Higher sales of the Jeep Renegade small SUV and Chrysler 200 midsize sedan in North America along with modest growth in Europe pushed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV back to profit in the first quarter, the newly formed carmaker said Wednesday.
The company posted first-quarter net profit of 92 million euros ($101 million), up from a net loss of 173 million euros in the same period of 2014 that was mainly due to one-off costs related to the completion of Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler.
The carmaker confirmed its 2015 targets, including net profit in the range of 1 billion euros to 1.2 billion euros on worldwide shipments of 4.8 million to 5 million units.
The targets don't take into account any potential impact from plans to spin-off Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler said.
North America revenues rose thanks to higher sales volumes and better pricing, while Europe posted positive results for the second straight quarter as the market continued a slow recovery, the carmaker said.
Chrysler reported higher volumes of the Jeep Renegade, Chrysler 200 and Ram 1500, pushing revenues up 38 percent to 16.2 billion euros. Profit margins on sales rose to 3.7 percent from 3.2 percent.
European sales rose 5 percent thanks to the new Fiat 500X and the Jeep Renegade, pushing revenues up 8 percent to 4.7 billion euros.
Latin America lost money, mostly due to the startup costs of the new Jeep facility at the Pernambuco plant in Brazil inaugurated Tuesday. Fiat Chrysler said without the startup costs, the region would have broken even despite lower volumes.
A total of 2.2 billion euros was invested for the facility, which has a production capacity of 250,000 vehicles a year. It is currently making Jeep Renegades for Latin America, but can make up to three models at the same time.
Debt grew to 8.6 billion euros from 7.7 billion euros at the end of last year, due to capital expenditures.