DETROIT (WWJ) – Chrysler says its profit jumped to $1.7 billion in 2012 as sales rose 18 percent.

“From where I sit it’s been an exceptional year,” said CEO Sergio Marchionne. “We finished 2012 hitting all of the targets we set for ourselves.”

Chrysler’s profit was nine times higher than the $183 million recorded in 2011.

Under a formula worked out with the United Auto Workers Union, the earnings will mean profit sharing checks of $2250 for Chrysler workers.

“Your phenomenal efforts have put us on a road with an endless horizon in front of us. We can dream big, unbounded by convention, while always keeping in mind the need to execute at the most detailed level in order to reach our goals,” Marchionne told workers in an email obtained by WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert.

Chrysler posted earnings of $378 million in the fourth quarter. That’s a 68 percent increase from the same period in 2011.

The results mark another step in Chrysler’s remarkable turnaround. The company went bankrupt during the recession in 2009 and needed a $12.5 billion loan from taxpayers to survive.

The No. 3 U.S. automaker sold 2.2 million cars and trucks worldwide last year. In the U.S., its largest market, Chrysler saw strong sales of the Chrysler 200 and 300 sedans, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram pickup.

Revenue increased 20 percent to $65.8 billion.

Chrysler expects its net income to rise to around $2.2 billion this year, on revenue of between $72 billion and $75 billion.

The company also updated its long term product plan. The big change includes more products for the Fiat brand, most coming for the 2015 model year, along with a variety of Alfa Romeo products. Chrysler, meanwhile, is cutting back on the number of Chrysler and Dodge brand products that are based on existing Fiat vehicles.

On Tuesday, Ford reported full year 2012 earnings of $5.7 billion. General Motors is scheduled to report its earnings on February 14th.


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