Chrysler posts best results in 4 years

January 29, 1993|By New York Times News Service

Chrysler Corp., in the midst of a financial recovery after three years of weak performance, reported its best results in four years yesterday, posting profits for 1992's fourth quarter and for the full year.

The improvement stemmed from the recovering economy and the successful introduction in the last year of new models with hefty profit margins. Chrysler's restyled minivan has been well-received, as have the new Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle and three midsize sedans, the Eagle Vision, Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde.

The No. 3 automaker earned $356 million, or $1.12 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with profits of $97 million, or 33 cents a share, in 1991's fourth quarter. Revenue grew to $10.2 billion, from $8.2 billion.

For all of 1992, net income was $723 million, or $2.21 a share, compared with a loss in 1991 of $795 million. Revenue grew to $36.9 billion last year, from $29.4 billion in 1991. The yearly profit was the best since 1988, when the company earned $1.05 billion.

Chrysler's stock price has tripled in the last year. Yesterday, the shares rose to $39.875, up 75 cents.

Chrysler said its share of the North American vehicle market rose to 13.4 percent for 1992, compared with 12.4 percent for 1991. The company's cash and marketable securities stood at $3.7 billion at the end of the year, up from $3 billion a year earlier.

The increases will result in profit-sharing checks for employees represented by the United Automobile Workers union for the first time since March 1989, when hourly workers received an average of $720 based on Chrysler's 1988 profits.

Robert J. Eaton, chairman and chief executive, cautioned that "the economic recovery continues to be slow, and neither our balance sheet nor our credit rating are where we want them to be."

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