Chrysler profits dive on lower shipments

HOLLYWOOD, FL - OCTOBER 02: Chrysler sales consultant Doug Desloover (L) shows a Jeep Wrangler to Lewis Colon at the Hollywood Chrysler Jeep car dealership on October 2, 2012 in Hollywood, Florida. Chrysler Group LLC reported that its sales last month rose 12% from a year ago for its best September since pre-recession 2007. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Joe Raedle

DETROIT Chrysler says its first-quarter net profit fell 65 percent as it shipped fewer older vehicles in preparation for several key product launches.

The company earned $166 million in the January-March quarter, compared with $473 million a year ago. Revenue fell 6 percent to $15.4 billion.

Chrysler says vehicle shipments fell 6 percent to 574,000. That's mainly because it ended production of the Jeep Liberty midsize SUV last year. Chrysler is preparing a Toledo, Ohio, factory to make the Jeep Cherokee, which will replace the Liberty later this year.

Launches of the 2014 Grand Cherokee and 2013 Ram Heavy Duty trucks also cut into shipments.

The profit decline comes even though Chrysler's sales were up 8 percent worldwide in the first quarter. Chrysler predicted a strong performance in the second half.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement that the company remains on track to achieve its business targets.

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