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Chrysler Claims It Could Break Even By 2012

After it's reorganized, the new Chrysler expects to be profitable, if barely, as soon as 2012, according to the company's own forecasts, submitted with Chrysler's U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing.

The forecasts were submitted for Chrysler by Robert Manzo, executive director of Capstone Advisory Group LLC, a firm that specializes in guiding corporations through Chapter 11 reorganization.

Chrysler also disclosed that it lost $16.8 billion in 2008 on revenues of $48.4 billion. To put that in context, that's a bigger loss than the much bigger Ford. Ford lost $14.6 billion in 2008, on $139.3 billion in revenues. GM, which like Chrysler is operating on government loans, lost $30.9 billion in 2008, on $149 billion in revenues.

Chrysler depends on the U.S. market for about 75 percent of its revenues, a much higher proportion than its more global rivals, according to court documents.

Chrysler is counting on its proposed merger with Fiat to provide it with small cars and fuel-efficient engines, which are supposed to be key to regaining profitability.

"Fiat would provide cars in segments not currently served or those underserved by Chrysler, particularly as market demand increases for more fuel efficient, smaller vehicles," Manzo said in a court document. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection on April 30.

Manzo said Fiat car lines earmarked for Chrysler include the Fiat 500 and a Jeep version of the Fiat Panda, in the smallest "A" segment; the Fiat Grande Punto and Alfa Romeo Mito, in the subcompact "B" segment; and the Fiat Evo sedan and Alfa Romeo Milano 940 in the compact "C" segment. It's not spelled out whether these models would be sold as Chryslers or Fiats in the U.S. market.

Critics of the Fiat deal point out it will probably take at least 18 months to two years for Chrysler to feel much benefit from adopting Fiat's products. That's just about the time Chrysler should approach the breakeven point, according to the documents.

Chart: Chrysler data, BNET Autos chart

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